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Over Half of Lorry Drivers Use Phone While Driving

By Practice Group Leader, Road Traffic Defence

A recent survey has found that 56 per cent of lorry drivers have broken the law by using their phones whilst at the wheel of their vehicle.

Shockingly a quarter of the truck drivers in the survey admitted to using Snapchat whilst driving and a fifth confessed they had taken a selfie when in control of the lorry.

Since 2012 almost 240,000 people have been caught distracted while driving and nearly 10,000 have been caught twice. Newspapers have reported that only 284 drivers have received a ban but it is important to note that few being banned does NOT mean that the rest were not prosecuted or subjected to an education course. 

I am aware that a lot of these offences are now dealt with by way of a Driver Awareness course which is an alternative to points. In my experience, a moment’s inattention can have fatal and life changing effects for many people and so educating drivers is much more important than three points and small fine.

It is an offence to use your mobile phone while driving, considered as being distracted while in possession of a vehicle.

The UK Government is now considering whether or not to increase the number of penalty points given for using a mobile phone whilst driving from three to six as well as upping the fixed penalty.

If someone accumulates 12 penalty points on their driving licence, within three years, they would automatically be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months.

Currently, the offence of being distracted at the wheel is punished with a fixed £100 penalty or up to £2,500 fine. However, the Government is reviewing the way this is sentenced, with Police Federation leader Steve White calling for those who drive distracted to be charged with dangerous driving which can mean sentences of two years in prison. 

Road safety campaigners have called for a complete ban on drivers using phones after a study revealed that even hands-free devices can pose a big risk. Drivers using hands-free phones were found to concentrate on an area of road four times smaller than those who didn’t.

One of Road Safety Charity Brake’s six pledges to keep the roads safe is to stay silent. By pledging to never talk on the phone whilst driving, or calling someone who you know is driving, the roads will be a safer place. Remember using your mobile phone while driving is illegal.

Paul Reddy is a driving offence solicitor and head of road traffic defence at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

If you are facing a driving ban through dangerous driving, distracted driving or any other offence, our expert team of driving offence solicitors at Slater and Gordon can help. Call us on freephone 0808 175 7998 or contact us online and we will call you back.

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