Safe Driving and Mobile Phones
Mobile phones have become more and more ingrained in our daily lives; tho one place where it should be a no go zone for using your phone is while you’re driving. A recent survey by Think!! Revealed that 1 in 6 people admit to using a mobile phone whilst driving!!
Risks of Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
Driving is a complex task that requires a person’s full attention, using a mobile phone in essence, distracts the driver. Phone use, whether it is hands-free or not, can vastly increase the likelihood of an accident, which may, unfortunately, result in serious injury and even deaths.
The main impairment drivers face whilst using their phone behind the wheel is the mental distraction from the task at hand, even after using your phone, research has shown it can take up to half a minute to regain full focus, meaning for that time your driving is impaired. You are also 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone. Your reaction times are 2 times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive, and this increases to 3 times if you use a handheld phone.
On top of the mental distraction, drivers who take their eyes off the roads for an extended period of time to use their phone, such as to check or respond to a message or to scroll through music, run the risk of missing hazards on the road. Any period of time in which a driver’s eyes are off the road is a potentially fatal distraction, both for them and others; if you are hit by a distracted driver it is important to choose the correct solicitor to protect yourself and fight for your claim.
Talking on a Hands-Free Phone
Speaking on a hands-free device still poses a similar level of distraction to using a hand-held phone while driving. Drivers using a hands-free device still suffer from ‘inattention blindness’ in which they may ‘see’ a potential hazard but it does not register them quickly enough to react.
Some would argue that talking on a hands-free device is no different from talking to a passenger. However, research shows that drivers talking to passengers are significantly less distracted than drivers talking on a hands-free device. Passengers, even talkative ones, are much less distracting as they can act as a second set of eyes and can point out any hazards. A passenger is also more likely to stop talking if driving conditions change or if a driver needs to focus as they can visibly see what is occurring.
It is illegal to use a hand-held phone whilst behind the wheel, even if the car is stationary or in traffic yet 445,000 people do so each year. The only exception to this is if you need to call emergency services and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.
Currently, hands-free phone use in a car is not illegal, however, this does not necessarily mean that it is safe. Police are still allowed to stop drivers who they deem not in control of their vehicle, even though they are using a hands-free device and this can lead to prosecution if severe enough.
Penalties of Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving
The use of a handheld device whilst behind the wheel can result in 6 points being added to your license and a £200 fine. For novice drivers (those who have passed their driving test within the past 2 years) it will result in automatic disqualification due to the 6 points.
Here at Atha & Co we sincerely hope you are never unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident as a result of mobile phone use whilst driving! You won’t be the first and you sadly won’t be the last but if you are affected please Choose the one you know… Atha and Co and our expert team will be happy to help. Call Middlesbrough 01642 222575.
Managing Director – Atha & Co