It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when you are driving, even if you are stationary at traffic lights or in a queue of traffic.

Drivers using hands-free mobile phones may be compliant with the law but are still at an increased risk compared with those who do not use a phone whilst driving.

It is the conversation element of the phone call and not necessarily the act of holding the phone that creates impairment for the driver. Using a mobile phone is not the same as a conversation with a passenger as passengers can contribute to helping a driver deal with an emerging or complex situation. Callers on a mobile phone have no idea of the driver’s situation or the developing problems and will continue to impair driver attention by discussing something unrelated to the driving event at that time. A further impairment to drivers using mobile phones is the human tendency to try and visualize either the caller or the subject they are discussing, this further impairs drivers attention for the road.

Road Safety GB urges drivers to switch off all mobile phones when driving and encourages the police to increase enforcement of mobile phone offences. Using a hands-free mobile phone can also distract drivers’ attention – the safest course of action is to divert calls to voicemail and switch off the phone or put it out of sight and reach. Road Safety GB supports the higher penalties introduced in 2017 for using a mobile phone while driving.

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