Don't be tempted to

phone and drive

Driver using phone

ROAD safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is reminding motorists to ensure they commit 100 per cent of their attention to their journeys and to avoid using their phone while on the move.

Avoiding mobile phone temptation is the responsible choice, according to GEM, as it reduces the risk of being distracted on a journey.

GEM says using a hand-held mobile phone is an offence punishable by a £200 fine with six penalty points.

Hands-free use may be legal but drivers still risk being distracted when dialling, talking, texting or browsing their phones during journeys.

Government figures for 2021 - the latest available -show that one per cent of drivers were observed using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving.

The worst group of offenders were van drivers (1.9 per cent) compared with car drivers (0.8 per cent). Males aged 17 to 29 were the most likely to be observed using a mobile phone.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said he was appealing to all drivers to see the safety benefits of leaving the phone alone while at the wheel.

"By ensuring you don't take part in a conversation or try to read and respond to data on your phone, you're reducing the risk you face and the risk you pose to others," he said.

"You can focus on the journey, the road ahead and the hazards that may be developing. What's more, it just takes a bit of planning to ensure you build in time to break your journeys and check voicemails, texts and emails."

GEM has a number of simple tips regarding mobile phones and driving:

1. You're allowed to use a mobile phone when you are safely parked, with the engine off and the handbrake on.

2. Please do not pick up your phone in any other driving situation, including when you're stationary at traffic lights or queueing in traffic.

3. The only exception to this is if it's an emergency and it would be unsafe or impractical to stop, in which case you may call 999.

4. Don't assume that using a hands-free kit means you have dealt with the risk. You are still allowing yourself to be distracted from the task of safe driving, and you could still be prosecuted for not being in control, an offence that carries a £100 fine and three penalty points.

6. Plan journeys to build in breaks from driving, where you can call, text or email or interact with social media in a safe environment.

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