Using a mobile while driving still causing thousands of fatalities a year despite tougher penalties

Why are mobile phones still causing fatalities in 2017?

Although it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving, and it now carry’s the penalty of 6 points and a £200 fine, people still risk using their phones on the road.

97% of teenage drivers know that it’s illegal, 43% of them still make the decision to text, and 61% check their phones for texts and social media updates whilst driving.

68% of mobile phone users are texting whilst driving. The risk of crashing because of this is increased by 23% and your reaction times are reduced by 35%. That’s nearly the same as being 3 times over the drink-drive limit.

The average time spent on a text is 5 seconds, which means that if you’re travelling at 30MPH, you’re not concentrating for 70 meters, which is the equivalent of the length of 3 tennis courts.

Prevention

A lot has changed in recent years when it comes to cars and technology. Hands-free, although being around for a long time, has developed from Bluetooth ear inserts to fully integrate into car systems. Now when you enter your car there is no set up required, it knows your phone is in your pocket or bag and connects with it instantly. This not only makes it easier to make calls from your car but also to hear texts messages and reply to them via voice control. It even allows you to sync all your favourite music from your phone to your radio. This should mean there is no reason to look at your phone, but what about older cars?

This might be where the problems lie. Not everyone on the road is driving something that was manufactured in the last few years. For people driving older cars, they must actively go on their phone to view any notifications, leading to road accidents.

‘Do not disturb when driving’ is a 2017 update for Apple iPhone users that recognises when you are in a moving vehicle. The phone then mutes all notifications until you have arrived at your destination. Other phone manufacturers like HTC and Samsung have also made ‘do not disturb while driving’ accessible to mobile phone users.

Could the Government and the Police do more?

6 penalty points and a £200 fine should be a strong deterrent. If that is not enough to put you off, you can also be taken to court where you could be banned from driving or receive a maximum fine of £1,000, or £2,500 if you’re driving a bus or lorry. If new drivers are caught using a phone while driving, in the first two years of passing their test, they can lose their license and have to retake their test.

What can you do if you witness someone using their phone?

Many people think they will only be caught and charged if they are seen doing it by a police officer but there is actually something you can do.

If you are a pedestrian and you witness someone using their phone whilst driving, they can be charged if you gather enough evidence. Where possible, gather as much information as possible, for example; the make and model of the car, the REG, and a description of the driver. If you believe it is safe to take a photo, then this will help with the evidence. The next thing to do is call 101 which is the police’s non-emergency line.

The police will then consider if the offence is in the public’s interests to prosecute or not, if they are deemed a threat to the public, there is a good chance they could get a conviction.

If the police do decide to follow up the matter you will have to give a statement and possibly attend court.

Many cyclists that have GoPro’s on their helmet have found themselves filming people checking their phones while at traffic lights and that footage is then passed onto the police.

What to do if you have been involved in a collision with someone that was on their phone

The first thing to do is make sure everyone is safe, including yourself. The next thing we would advise you to do is; exit the vehicle and get yourself and everybody you’re with to a safe location. Don’t sit in the car if you don’t have to, and once in a safe location, call the emergency services. You should start noting down everything you can see and everything you saw before the collision, this will be important evidence for the police when they arrive. If you haven’t already, get the insurance information from the driver that crashed into you.

Have you been involved in something like this and not received the compensation you think you deserve? Why not speak to one of our experts to see what options you have.

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