Mobile Phones while driving, is this a modern epidemic?As you know it is against the law to use your mobile phone for any purpose when driving unless of course you have a genuine emergency and can prove this, being late for work does not count as an emergency.
If you do need to make a 999 call and it is unsafe to stop i.e. if you are being followed, you may use your phone whilst driving but you will have to prove you where being followed, better still it would be better to keep driving until you find a populated place like a supermarket car park to stop in.
The same applies if you are supervising a leaner driver, you are legally in charge of the vehicle as the full licence holder, this includes professional driving instructors, it is illegal for them too. I would also go as far as to say talking on hands free is not good business practice for professional instructors.
If you need to use your phone then pull over where it is safe and legal to park, turn off your engine and have your parking break applied. I stress ‘parked up in a safe place’. Stopping at traffic lights does not constitute parked up, it is illegal to use your phone there too.
So why do so many people talk on the phone when getting a hands free kit is so easy, also a lot of new cars have blue tooth enabled. But having a conversation on hands free is proving to be no safer.
Talking on the phone is not like having a conversation with someone in the car with you. Whether we like it or not our passengers help us with the driving task. How many times have you, as a passenger, shouted “watch this pedestrian”, cyclist etc. or even gone for the imaginary brake?
Your passengers are sharing the same constantly changing, dynamic environment with you, so will always help or shut up when they feel the driving task is becoming demanding, a person on the end of the phone will not know what is happening outside the car.
Also having a remote conversation takes a lot more cognitive ability that speaking to someone in your presence, we start to picture the things we are talking about.
Studies have shown that we simply cannot do two ‘thinking’ tasks at the same time effectively. We will ‘toggle’ task, our concentration will move from one task to another, and if your concentration is on the phone call when something capital happens the delay in your action can have fatal consequences.
Lets face it how many of us turn the radio or music off when lost or parking up?
So if we feel compelled to shut down a bit of background noise so that we can concentrate more, then how distracting can a two way conversation actually be?
Nobody has ever been killed or injured missing a phone call.