Mobile Phones - the official line
As it is a topical issue at the moment, you
may wish to see a copy of the Department of the Environment,Transport and the
Regions official stance.
Department of the Environment,
Transport and the Regions
Mobile Phones and Driving
Mobile phones can be an essential means of communication away from the office
or home and for motorists they can be an important security asset in the event
of an emergency. However, using a mobile phone while driving can distract your
attention from the road, and driving today requires all your concentration all
of the time.
It is unsafe for a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone.
Making or receiving a call, even with a hands-free phone, can distract your
attention from driving and could lead to an accident.
Responsibility for the safe control of a vehicle always rests with the driver.
The law says...
You must have proper control of your vehicle at all times. If the use
of a phone causes you to drive in a careless or dangerous manner you could be
prosecuted for those offences. The penalties include an unlimited fine, disqualification
and up to two years imprisonment.
And remember - it's not just mobile phones. It can be just as dangerous to
take your hand off the steering wheel and your eyes off the road for any reason
not connected with driving, for example to change a tape.
Never use a hand-held phone while driving
- You are not in full control of your vehicle if you are holding a mobile
phone while driving. Doing so will risk the safety of yourself, your passengers
and other road users.
- When you are driving, switch off your phone, use a message service or let
a passenger make or answer a call.
It is safer not to use a hands-free phone while driving
- Conversations using hands-free equipment can distract your attention from
- If you have to receive a call, say that you are driving and keep the conversation
Use a message service and take regular breaks
- To ensure the safety of yourself and other road users use voicemail or
call divert so that messages can be left for you when your phone is switched
- Find a safe place to park in order to make a call or check for messages. On
a long journey regular breaks will also help you to relax and reduce tiredness,
but remember it is against the law to stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway
except in an emergency.
- At a petrol station, switch off the phone when
you are outside the vehicle.
Reporting accidents and other incidents
- You should contact the emergency services as quickly as possible if an incident
needs immediate action. Stop your vehicle where and when it is safe to do
so or ask a passenger to make the call.
- Be ready to describe exactly where the emergency is, for example by reference
to the last place or junction you passed.
- On a motorway it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone so that the
emergency services know your exact location.
- Do not ask your staff to carry out two demanding tasks at the same time
- your employees should not be expected to use a phone while driving.
- If you or your customers need to contact staff while they may be driving,
ensure that you provide hands-free equipment with voicemail or call divert
facilities and encourage your staff to stop regularly to check for messages
and return calls.
- The emergency services, taxi drivers and couriers often need to be contacted
while on the road. Where contact is unavoidable, it is safer if the vehicle
is fitted with hands-free equipment and communication is kept to a minimum.
Installation of Hands-free Equipment
- In order to reduce driver distraction and the possibility of interference
with vehicle systems, hands-free equipment should be installed according to
the manufacturers instructions and should follow the British Standards Institution's
'Guide to in-vehicle information systems' (DD 235: 1996).