A lot of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and greatly increases the risk of the driver crashing.

Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
  • are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
  • 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
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
  • feel more stressed and frustrated.

Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.

Remember it isn’t just speaking - texting and using smartphones can be even more distracting than talking on your phone.

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The Law

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or device while driving. This includes Sat-navs. It is also an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

It can be illegal to use a hands-free phone while driving. Depending upon the individual circumstances, drivers could be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’.

  • if you are caught it’s a £100 fine and three points and if you are caught twice you will lose your license
  • if you cause an accident and kill someone you are likely to go to prison
  • Police will check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury