Warwickshire Police asks the public not to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving
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It is not only illegal to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving or while stopped with the engine on, but it is also one of the ‘fatal 4’ factors that contribute towards death and injury on our roads alongside not wearing a seatbelt, drink and drug driving and speeding.
Many drivers are concerned about legal and illegal mobile phone use by other drivers and the RAC 2020 Report on Motoring has identified handheld mobile phone use by other drivers as the second biggest driver concern in 2020.
Fortunately the majority of people do not use their mobile phone whilst driving, however there is still a dangerous minority who do.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “We are seeing a worrying shift in attitudes to mobile phone use behind the wheel and this is raising many safety concerns.
“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 or calling, whether parents, family, or friends, they would not want you to have a collision potentially injuring yourself or someone else.”
In Warwickshire, using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor in five serious collisions in 2019 and two serious collisions in 2020, (provisional data). For these drivers, being involved in a serious collision will change their lives forever. Interestingly, the majority of these collisions occurred in the south of the county.
There are also financial consequences as 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.
In Warwickshire during 2019, 390 drivers received fixed penalty notices for driving whilst using a mobile phone and in 2020 despite lockdown, 267 notices were issued to drivers.
We know that for many drivers, the temptation to use a mobile phone will be strong as they see their daily drive as an opportunity to catch up on emails, social media, or chat with friends and family.
Please make it a 2021 resolution to 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 or simply switch your phone off. Whilst legal, hands free use is just as distracting as handheld phone use and should be avoided wherever possible.
It may shock some people to know that when distracted, your driving is impaired to a degree similar to that of a drink driver. Especially if you would never consider drink driving. If you’re distracted by your phone while driving, you are four times more likely to crash.
You are also far less likely to notice hazards, road signs, fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed 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.
Drivers don’t have ’spare’ attention to apply to other tasks – that’s simply not how our brains work and having two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road isn’t enough if your mind is elsewhere.
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.
Driving whilst distracted was identified as a contributory factor in five serious collisions and one fatal collision in 2019. Despite lockdown in 2020, driving whilst distracted was a contributory factor in eight serious collisions and one fatal collision (provisional data). The majority of drivers were men.
Being stopped by Warwickshire Police isn’t the only way you can get caught for using your 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 for 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.