Do you find yourself texting while driving?
Whilst it has been illegal to touch a mobile phone while driving since 2003, today (March 1st 2017) sees stricter laws put in place. To clarify, it is illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or riding a motorcycle. The rules remain the same even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic – where some of us might wrongly believe it’s ‘safe’.
Not texting while driving? The new penalties will still affect you.
Surprisingly, it is also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider. Both the driver AND supervisor must have full concentration while driving.
Every driver must stay in complete control of the vehicle at all times. The police are now even more likely to stop you if they believe you are distracted. This will include if you’re using in-car devices like your sat nav or car radio.
When you CAN use a phone in your vehicle?
The only acceptable times when you can use your phone in a vehicle is if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop, otherwise when you are safely parked. Ideally, it would be best to only use your phone if you are parked up, safely, and your engine is off, then you are free to use your mobile while sat in the driver’s seat.
Currently, there is no law to say you can’t eat or drink soft drinks while driving, however, motorists can be prosecuted for careless driving if they seem to be distracted by the food or drink.
You are at risk of receiving six penalty points on your licence, a fine of £200 and NO option of a remedial course if you are seen texting while driving or using a phone/device.
Furthermore, your case could go to court where you could be disqualified from driving or riding and face a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a bigger maximum penalty of £2,500.
Drivers who have only been on the road for less than two years, risk losing their licence entirely.
It’s not worth the risk
The new rules apply in England, Scotland and Wales, with repeat offenders facing a £1,000 fine and a six-month driving ban. The law will aim to deter drivers from texting, making phone calls without a hands-free kit, and using social media or other applications while driving.
This law has come to attention due to the alarming number of people reported making calls, texting and even recording videos illegally when they should be paying attention to the road.
According to the RAC’s 2016 Report on Motoring, there has been a rise in drivers sending a text, email or posting on social media, with the reported figure increasing from 7% three years ago, to 19% last year.
The percentage of people who are comfortable checking social media in stationary traffic or at the lights has also risen, up from 14% to 20% over the same period.
With the new law in place, hopefully, the result with be fewer accidents on the road, and therefore much less heartache for all families and friends involved.
We understand how valuable your time is – all of our cars are fitted with free 4G Wi-Fi to enable our clients to stay in touch while on the move. There’s no need to text while driving if you have a trusted Chauffeur to drive for you.