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The risks, law and penalties of mobile phone use while driving

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Otto Car is committed to helping and supporting PCO drivers to be successful. That’s why we put together help guides regularly to help you become a safer driver. 

In this article, our experienced driving instructor Berat shares some stats and tips about mobile phone use while driving. 

Is it legal to use a mobile phone while driving in the UK?

In the UK, using your mobile phone while driving is an offence due to the dangers of distracted driving to both yourself and others on the road. 

It is illegal for anyone to use a handheld phone while driving, even if stopped or queueing in traffic. The only time you are permitted to use a handheld phone is if you are safely parked or if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, when it would be unsafe or impractical to stop.

Using any phone behind the wheel makes you four times more likely to be involved in an accident.

▶️ Learn more about the UK’s mobile phone driving laws here

Otto Car's driving instructor Berat

What are the penalties for mobile phone use while driving?

In 2021, there were 6,200 prosecutions for ‘using or causing others to use a handheld mobile phone whilst driving’. This number has fallen steadily over the last decade, from 31,400 in 2021. 

Using a handheld phone while driving can result in 6 penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine.

How dangerous is mobile phone use while driving?

Aside from mental distraction, any distraction that takes a driver’s eyes or hands off the road for any length of time (for example to check messages or scroll through music options) is potentially lethal.

A car driven at 30 mph travels about three car lengths in one second

at 40 mph  18.2 metres     (4 car lengths)

at 50 mph  22.25 metres   (5-6 car lengths)

at 60 mph  27.12 metres  (6-7 car lengths)

at 70 mph  31.5 metres   (7-8 car lengths)

Drivers who look away from the road for any amount of time will have travelled a long distance without being alert for potential hazards.

Stay safe on the road!

Want to learn more?

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