Why do we still use our mobile phones from behind the wheel?

Metropolitan Police statistics show that last year over 70,000 fixed notice penalties were issued across the country for drivers using their mobile phone from behind the wheel. This statistic should seriously encourage us to ask the question ‘Why do we still use our mobile phones from behind the wheel?’.


How the law stands


Using your mobile phone while driving can have serious consequences and because of this the police have a zero tolerance approach to those who ignore the law. A £60 fixed penalty notice is typically accompanied by three penalty points.


Under more severe circumstances the offence may be dealt with by the courts who can hand down fines of up to £1000 for car drivers or up to £2500 for bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle drivers. More severe sentencing can also be handed down through prosecutions for dangerous driving or driving without due care.


Mobile phone driving laws


Some drivers may be offending through ignorance of the law. So, the first step towards eradicating this bad habit should be through re-education. First time offenders may attend re-education courses, for which they pay for at the same fixed price of £60, while avoiding the three penalty points.


For those who haven’t yet offended, here is how the law stands:


1. A mobile phone or smartphone may not be used if it needs to be held to operate it
2. Hands-free accessories can be used if they can be operated without holding them
3. Pushing buttons is allowed but prosecutions can still occur if you’re driving is deemed dangerous or if you are involved in an accident
4. Phones should not be used during traffic jams or at traffic lights with the exception being a severe traffic jam where the vehicles motor is no longer running
5. It is still an offence to use your phone even if your are holding it between your head and shoulder


It isn’t surprising that so many people still want to use their mobile phones while driving and the advent of the smartphone has contributed towards this. It is no longer just about receiving a call, it’s social networking, instant messaging and internet search.


It has been proven, in recent research conducted by Swansea University, that people may experience withdrawal like symptoms when their access to the internet is forbidden and the smartphone has given everyone access to this, any time and everywhere. However, new technology is about to make our roads safer!


The future of in-car mobile phone use


Hyundai is set to become the first car manufacturer to offer Google’s Android Auto system in its mid-range Sonata sedan. This service connects to the driver’s smartphone to give access to services like Google Maps by voice. Steering wheel controls and dashboard touchscreens are employed while the smartphone’s screen becomes locked, so there is no temptation to use the phone when Android Auto is activated.


Android Auto
Audi and Honda are also planning to integrate the system within the dashboards of their new vehicles and Apple has assigned similar deals with Honda, BMW and General Motors for its system named CarPlay.


Written by: Michael Brown

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