Warwickshire Police ask the public to #standupforhangingup and not use a mobile phone whilst driving
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Warwickshire Police is asking the public to ‘stand up for hanging up’ as part of a campaign to change driver behaviours and highlight the consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving.
Many drivers are concerned about legal and illegal mobile phone use by other drivers and this has been the top driver concern in the RAC Report on Motoring for four of the last five years
Whilst most people do not use their mobile phone whilst driving, there is a dangerous minority who do.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “We aren’t just asking people not to put a mobile phone to their ear. We are seeing more drivers looking down to use a handheld mobile phone to use social media apps, select music, check emails or texting while driving when they should be focussing on the road ahead. We are asking these drivers to consider how their actions could affect themselves and other people.
“Whoever you are texting would not want you to have a collision potentially injuring yourself or someone else.
“You may also be fined. Using a mobile phone whilst driving attracts 6 points and a £200 fine and even if you are using a mobile phone legally, if you are driving whilst not being in proper control of your vehicle you could face 3 points and £100 fine.”
We know that for many drivers, they see their daily drive as an opportunity to catch up on emails, social media, or chat with friends and family and the temptation to do that will be strong.
If this sounds like you, you need to set some ground rules. Tell work, friends and family that you will check your phone regularly but you will not use your mobile phone to respond to them whilst driving because it is a distraction and you need to concentrate on driving.
Put your phone out of sight in a bag or glove box or the boot when you are driving so you don’t get tempted to check it.
For some people mobile phone blocking pouches might be the answer. Others may be persuaded to switch their phone off, or have an App that blocks calls when driving and sends a message that the person being called is driving, and so isn’t going to answer. This can relieve the stress of thinking that your callers will think you are ignoring them.
Whilst legal, it may come as an ‘inconvenient truth’ to some people that hands free use is just as distracting as handheld phone use and should be avoided wherever possible.
It may surprise people to know that when distracted, your driving is also impaired to a degree similar to that of a drink driver. This is shocking for those who would never consider drink driving.
Dr Gemma Briggs, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University said:
“If you’re distracted by your phone while driving your driving performance is significantly diminished to the extent that you are four times more likely to crash. You’re far less likely to notice hazards and will take much longer to react to any hazards you do see. This applies equally to hands-free phone use as hand-held use, meaning having two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road isn’t enough if your mind is elsewhere. Drivers don’t have ’spare’ attention to apply to other tasks – that’s simply not how our brains work.”
“When you are distracted you are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around you, you may fail to see road signs, fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed, are more likely to tailgate the vehicle in front, react more slowly and take longer to brake. You are also more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic and feel more stressed and frustrated.”
Try out these quick tasks which demonstrate how your attention works:
It’s not just mobile phones that can distract you, changing the channel on the radio, chatting to a passenger, and having children in the car can all hinder your concentration when driving.
Being stopped by Warwickshire Police isn’t the only way you can get caught for using your mobile phone whilst driving.
The majority of people are concerned about other people using a mobile phone whilst driving. We are asking the public to submit any dashcam or GoPro footage they have captured as evidence that could be used to prosecute someone using a phone whilst driving to Operation Snap. See more information.
More and more people are committing publically to not using their phones while driving and you can follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #StandingupForHangingUp to symbolise this.
You can also follow us on Twitter @WarksPolice @OPUWarks and Facebook @WarwickshirePolice, @OPUWarwickshire
Mobile phones and the law
As well as increasing your risks of a collision you could face a £200 fine and six points if you use a hand-held phone when driving. Within your probationary period you’ll lose your licence.
If it goes to court the fine can be up to £1000 and you could get disqualified from driving.
If you kill someone you will face prison and will have to live with what you have done for the rest of your life.
The police will check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury.
The law still applies to you if you’re:
stopped at traffic lights
queuing in traffic
supervising a learner driver
Please remember that if you are distracted by your mobile phone or anything else whilst driving, driving whilst not being in proper control of your vehicle is also an offence attracting 3 points and £100 fine.