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Dangers of mobile phones

Never use a handheld phone when driving

Driving a motor vehicle requires your full concentration. Holding a mobile phone to your ear while driving a motor vehicle not only endangers your safety and that of your passengers, but also puts at risk the wellbeing of other motorists and pedestrians.

Numerous international studies show that you greatly increase the chances of an accident by engaging in this activity. As a rule, never take your hands off the wheel to use a mobile phone.

Are hands-free kits safe?

While a hands-free kit will help you control your vehicle and improve safety, the telephone conversation can still distract your attention.

If you must use your mobile phone in your vehicle, ensure itís a hands-free conversation and limit the length of the call, as long conversations slow driver response times and increase the risk of an accident.

Department for Transport

Mobile Phones and Driving -
It is an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving

Annex A


1. Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended) allows the Secretary of State to make regulations generally about the use of motor vehicles on roads, their construction and equipment and the conditions under which they may be used.
2. The existing regulations are The Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986 No 1078)(as amended). Regulation 104 currently requires a driver to be in a position to maintain control of their vehicle at all times. It states "No person shall drive or cause or permit any other person to drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is in such a position that he cannot have proper control of the vehicle or have a full view of the road and traffic ahead".
3. The proposal would add a new provision to the Regulations, which would apply to the driver of any motor vehicle. This would specifically prohibit the use of hand-held mobile phones so that the police would be able to prosecute anyone driving a vehicle on a highway or other road to which the public have access while using any type of hand-held mobile telephone or similar device.
4. We propose that the new regulation should apply in all circumstances other than when the vehicle was parked and with the engine off. This would mean that the prohibition would apply even if a vehicle was paused at traffic lights or stopped in a temporary traffic jam or in very slow moving traffic.
5. As with Regulation 104, we consider that the proposed new Regulation should enable the police to take action if anyone 'causes or permits' the use of a hand-held mobile phone by a driver. This should make it clear to employers that they cannot expect their employees to use a hand-held phone while driving. We do not propose that a passenger should be prohibited from using a mobile phone but are concerned that a passenger should not hold it for a driver to use in a moving vehicle. There is no intention however to apply any new provision to someone who calls a mobile phone that is answered by a person who is driving at that time.
6. The intention is for the new regulation to prohibit the use of hand-held mobile phones or other similar hand-held devices that permit 2-way communication, whether the medium is speech, text or other forms of data. It would include equipment such as radio microphones. However, there is no intention to prohibit the use of in-vehicle equipment that has been designed to support the driving task. Although the new regulation should apply generally to the drivers of buses and coaches, we would not want to interfere with the provision that allows use of a microphone while driving to make an announcement to passengers in an emergency using the in-vehicle loudspeaker system. This is contained in The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of drivers, inspectors, conductors and passengers) Regulations 1990 (No. 1020) which generally prohibits the use of microphones by the drivers of these vehicles.
7. We consider that the use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving should have a wide interpretation. We do not consider that it should be necessary for phones to be switched off while the vehicle is on the move because that would be difficult to enforce. But we do consider it is necessary to prevent drivers speaking or listening to a call on a hand-held phone or using a hand-held phone interactively in any way (including using the internet) or composing or interrogating a text message, whilst driing.
8. The proposed prohibition would apply to the use of all mobile phones or similar devices that are not hands-free. We do not consider that the phone needs to be physically held in a driver's hand in order to commit an offence. This would prohibit the use of hand-held phones used with an earphone and microphone whether using a wire, or wireless, connection. Even though they can be used 'hands-free' to some extent, these still require the user to hold the phone in order to press buttons or to read a message on the phone's screen. Nor should a driver escape prosecution because a phone was being held to the ear by other means (eg a shoulder).
9. We believe that a hands-free phone would be one that did not require the driver to significantly alter their position in relation to the steering wheel in order to use it. It should be permanently wired into the vehicle and use one or more speakers permanently fixed in the vehicle; or be plugged into a unit in the vehicle (commonly a cradle on the dashboard) thereby directly connecting it to fixed speaker(s) in the vehicle. This would not include those types of car phones that are permanently wired into the vehicle but require hand operation (eg telephone style handset that needs to be held up to the ear/mouth).
10. It may not be necessary to define all the above circumstances in the regulations but the above points indicate the scope of the proposal.

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