Drivers caught using a handheld mobile phone will receive 3
points on their licence and a fine of £60.
Research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory shows
that using a handheld mobile phone impairs driver reaction
times more than being at the drink drive limit.
The study also showed that using a hands-free
mobile significantly impairs reaction times too and affects
driver concentration levels. It's not illegal to have one beer then
get behind the wheel, nor is it illegal to use a hands-free set
However, both activities impair your ability to drive safely,
unnecessarily increasing your risk of a crash.
The law states that it is illegal to use a handheld mobile
whilst driving. This includes when stopped at traffic lights, or in
a traffic jam and also if you are supervising a learner driver.
The effect it has on your concentration levels makes it unsafe
to use a mobile phone, handheld or hands-free, whilst driving. The
safest thing to do is to switch off your phone before beginning a
If you need to make a call or are expecting to be contacted
by work, friends or relatives, then make regular stops to check.
Ensure you are in a safe place to stop with your engine switched
off, check your voicemail and make any necessary calls.
You may be dying to make or take that call, but is it really
worth dying for?
What's the difference between talking on a mobile and talking
to a passenger?
A passenger will be aware of your surroundings and will often
stop talking when you are approaching a busy junction, or even warn
you of a hazard you might not have noticed. This isn't the case
with someone on the other end of the phone. A passenger would
see an approaching hazard, a person on the phone would not.
Why isn't it illegal to do other things that distract you when
you're driving, like using the radio or satellite navigation and
talking to passengers?
It is already illegal to do all of those things, if they mean
you are not in proper control of your vehicle. If a police officer
believes this to be the case - whether you are changing a CD or
having a conversation via a hands-free kit, you can be prosecuted
for careless driving.
Businesses need to be particularly aware of legislation. While
communication is obviously an important part of any business, it
should not come at the expense of the safety of employees or other
An employer's duty of care extends into any vehicle being used
for their business.
This means managing the occupational road risk of your
staff by not expecting them to make or take phone calls while on
the road. Employers should not ask staff to carry out two tasks at
the same time, particularly when one of them requires total
concentration and is potentially dangerous, such as driving.
Would any safety conscious employer really let their staff use
dangerous machinery, like a chain saw, and talk on the phone
at the same time? If an employee crashes whilst at work, employers
could be liable for prosecution and could ultimately be held
Don't take the risk
Maybe the increased penalty will focus some drivers' minds - no
mobile phone call or text message is worth risking your life
and the lives of others.
Get the message - just drive!
To find out more about road safety campaigns, visit the
Kent Road Safety website.