The crackdown on drivers using their phones whilst driving is continuing but a report by the Government revealed that more than half of van drivers admitted to using their mobile phone behind the wheel without using a hands-free device.
We are all aware of the dangers and risks of using your mobile phone whilst driving as well as the laws and penalties that are in place. So, why are van drivers still risking their license, business reputation and a possible road accident? Here is everything you need to know about van drivers and their mobile phones…
What are the laws?
It is against the law to use any handheld mobile device whilst you are driving any vehicle or if you are supervising a learner.
However, you are allowed to use a mobile phone if it is completely hands-free, so you can’t physically touch the phone. Most vehicles now have hands free kits built-in or they are available to buy to ensure you don’t break any laws. Any hands-free device should be set up before you start driving.
But it has been revealed that many van drivers have hands-free technology available but choose not to use it.
Many people use their phone as a satnav and the mobile phone law covers this too, you are not allowed to touch your phone even if you are following directions. The law states you can use your phone as a satnav if it is fixed to your dashboard or windscreen but not obstructing your view of the road, so you don’t have to touch your phone after you’ve set off.
When can you use your phone in the vehicle?
The only time you are allowed to interact with your phone in your vehicle is if you are safely parked up and your engine is switched off. This doesn’t include using your phone when you are waiting in traffic or at traffic lights or crossings.
The mobile phone law does also state that you can use your mobile phone to make a 999 or 112 call whilst driving in events of emergencies if you are unable to safely stop.
What are the penalties?
The penalty for using your phone whilst driving increased in 2017, the penalty now is a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on your license.
This means if you have had your license for less than two years and get caught using your mobile device then you will lose your license because new drivers can only accumulate 6 points on their license. For more experienced drivers, you can lose your license if you get 12 points on your licence in a 3-year period.
You can also be taken to court if the police feel like it was an extreme case, or an accident or injury was caused through the use of a mobile phone. Once taken to court you could be faced will a maximum of a £2000 fine and disqualification.
Using your phone whilst driving can cause harm to your life, someone else’s or ruin your business and career. If you are someone who uses their phone whilst driving, try switching your phone onto airplane mode and leaving it in your glovebox.