New campaign urges drivers not to use their mobile at the wheel
It’s simple…talk on a phone at the wheel – hands-free or hand-held, then your risk of causing an injury or death is four times as high.
Yet a recent survey has discovered that nearly half of drivers (48%) are risking their lives by using their mobile phone at the wheel, according to the road safety charity Brake and Direct Line. The survey also discovered that:
- 65% break the law by using a hand-held phone (something that has been illegal since 2003)
- 25% talk on their phone at the wheel at least once a week
The new ‘Drive Smart‘ campaign has been launched which urges drivers to put their phones out of sight and out of mind while driving. Using a hands-free or hand-held phone at the wheel can lengthen reaction times to a similar extent to drink driving, significantly increasing the risk of a devastating crash.
Young drivers and mobile phones
Male and female drivers, young and old, are almost equally guilty of phone use at the wheel, showing widespread misunderstanding of the dangers. Men are slightly more likely to chat on a phone than women (50% compared to 47%) and young drivers are slightly more likely than older drivers (52% compared to 48%). However, far more young drivers than older drivers break the law by using a hand-held phone (41% compared to 30%).
Young drivers are also far more likely than older drivers to use their phones to text, email or surf the web at the wheel. A shocking 44% of young drivers admit texting at the wheel, compared to 27% of older drivers, while 21% of young drivers email, go online or use apps, compared to 9% of older drivers.
The facts about driving whilst using a mobile phone
- Using a phone while driving significantly reduces drivers’ ability to focus on the road ahead and react to hazards
- Drivers who use either a hand-held or hands-free device while driving are four times more likely to crash
- When using a hand-held phone drivers take half a second longer to react than normal
- Research into the impact of sending or receiving text messages among young drivers found the amount of time drivers spent with their eyes off the road increased by up to 400%.
Know the law
Drivers caught using a hand-held phone at the wheel (to call or text) face a fixed penalty notice of £60 and three points. In May 2011 the government announced this fine is will increase to £80 – £100. In some cases drivers may go to court and face disqualification and a maximum fine of £1,000. But it could be much worse. If you kill someone while using a phone you could face up to 14 years in prison, as well as the knowledge that someone died because of your decision to pick up your phone at the wheel.
Brake’s advice to drivers
However much you love your phone, when you are driving you need to put it out of sight and out of mind. Texting, emailing, taking or making a call (on a hand held or hands free phone), inputting details into an app, repeatedly glancing at the screen: all are major distractions that put your life and the lives of others at risk. Driving is the most dangerous and complex activity most of us do on a daily basis and it requires your full concentration. Your phone can wait.
To read the full story visit Brake Road Safety