Message for drivers from GEM: Hang up – or face the consequences
Safety group warns of concerted police action against drivers using mobile phones
GEM Motoring Assist is today reminding drivers that a two-week national police enforcement campaign against illegal mobile phone use starts today.
The campaign is meant to highlight the risks drivers face – and the risks they pose to others – when they use a mobile phone illegally while at the wheel.
The current penalty of a £200 fine with six penalty points was introduced in 2017.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth says the roads may be quieter during the current period of lockdown, but the laws of the road remain in place for every road user’s protection.
“Holding and using any device while in control of a car is a potentially lethal distraction that is against the law.
“The physical task of keying in characters on your phone or scrolling through information is very risky while you are also at the wheel of a vehicle.
“It’s also mentally distracting, and if you allow yourself to take part in a conversation or try to read and respond to data on your phone, you’re dramatically reducing your ability to focus on safe driving.
“Please think about the consequences of picking up a phone. You wouldn’t do it with a police officer watching and you wouldn’t do it on your driving test. The risk doesn’t just disappear because the roads are quieter and there are fewer vehicles are on the road.
“If it’s tempting to reach for your phone while driving, then store it somewhere out of reach, and build in time on longer journeys to stop somewhere safe and check messages, calls and emails.
“Recongising these risks puts you in control and allows you to keep a 100 per cent focus on the driving task and the journey.”
Tips for staying safe
- Make the sensible decision and keep your phone safely out of reach during every journey. Build in breaks to longer trips so that you can check calls and messages safely.
- You’re allowed to use a mobile phone when you are safely parked, with the engine off and the handbrake on.
- Please do not pick up your phone in any other driving situation, including when you’re stationary at traffic lights or queueing in traffic.
- If it’s an emergency and it would be unsafe or impractical for you to stop, you may call 999.
- Hands-free calls do not remove the distraction risk, and you could still be prosecuted for not being in control (an offence that carries a £100 fine and three penalty points).
GEM’s short ‘Kill the Conversation’ video sets out details of the offence, the risks and the penalties.
Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.