Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Mobile Phonication

Saw this a few days ago, thought it got the message across about 'doing two things'. Doubt, though, whether phone-using drivers will take any notice . . .

From the DfT 'Think' web site:

Research demonstrates that reaction times for drivers using a handheld phone are 30 per cent worse than for driving under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit.
Research shows that using a mobile phone while driving means you are four times more likely to crash.

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving. The penalty is £60 and 3 penalty points. If the case goes to court, it's a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if driving a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle), discretionary disqualification and 3 points.

Your insurance costs could also go up.

If you reach 6 points within 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked and you will need to re-sit your test to get your licence back.

You can also be prosecuted for using a handsfree phone or similar device if you are distracted and not in proper control of the vehicle. The same penalties apply. Employers could also be prosecuted if employees are distracted because they require them to use their mobile phones while driving.

Callers also play an important role. If you ring someone on their mobile phone who turns out to be driving when they answer, say you'll call them later and hang up.

The 'four times more likely to crash' statistic sounds a bit odd - how would anyone know? It comes from, I believe, a Canadian study, where they compared the inurance claim details and mobile phone records for a large company fleet.

Perhaps more interesting, is the additional information which came from that study, that the increased crash risk didn't stop immediately the call ended - it tailed off over 20 minutes!

It's not just the physical 'control' issues - it's the fact that we're just not as good as we like to think we are.

Interestingly, 3M have just banned their employees from even using hands-free phones in their cars while driving. Link


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