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The Law on Using a Mobile Phone When Driving

The Highway Code states that you must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. You are not allowed to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar when driving. Also if you are supervising a learner driver.

It has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone when driving since December 2003. It is actually illegal to use a mobile phone (phone to ear) while not only driving, but when also stopped with the engine on.

The only time you can use a hand-held phone is when dialling 999 or 112, and when it is not safe or impractical to stop. The Highway Code does say you should never use a hands-free device when driving – although legally you can still use them as long as you exercise proper control of your vehicle.

There is a great deal of debate surrounding the use of hands-free devices. There has been a great deal of research carried out that shows people simply can’t concentrate effectively even when using a hands free.

There is actually little cognitive load (concentration) required to hold a mobile phone, where as engaging in a detailed or emotionally driven conversation (even with a hands-free device) can have a huge effect on a driver’s concentration.

The main impact of using a hand-held phone when driving is that both hands are not on the steering wheel, thus the driver has less control. However, the main issue of using a mobile phone when driving is the issue of excessive cognitive load. Drivers simply can’t concentrate when driving and engaging in a detailed conversation!


You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you are caught using a hand-held phone when driving. This means you will get 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. If you are driving a bus or good vehicle the punishment is much more severe. You could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

If you refuse to accept the fixed penalty you will be summonsed to appear in court. You will also be taken to court if the policeman thinks the office is so bad that a fixed penalty is not enough. This could be for example if you were driving in a dangerous manor, overtaking etc whist using a mobile phone.

These offences apply to using a mobile phone when driving. If you cause a crash whilst using a mobile, you could be prostituted for careless or dangerous driving, or if someone dies, death though dangerous driving, which carries a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Your employer maybe prostituted if they cause or permit you to drive whilst using a phone or to not have proper control of the vehicle. They can also be open to prosecution if they require you to make or receive calls whilst driving. Finally your employer can be prosecuted if you drive dangerously due to the fact that you are using a phone installed by your employer. The last note made is a little vague, as it would be hard to work out how exactly your dangerous driving was attributed to using a phone. However, there have been cases where this has occurred.

Our advice when using a mobile phone in a car is:

1. Always act in accordance with the law.

2. Always consider yours and other peoples safety.

3. If you need to talk, find a safe place to stop and switch your engine off. If you miss a phone call you can always call someone back a few moment later.

4. Avoid the temptation to check a text, email or the latest Facebook status from your friends!

5. If you feel despite your best efforts you find yourself wanting to use your phone when driving, put it safely in the boot of your vehicle. This way you may find playing with it a little trickier to say the least!

Learn more about the UK law surrounding mobile phones from .gov – more info

Fleet & Advanced Driving Courses

We offer fleet advanced driving courses (sometimes known as defensive driving courses) to a range of corporate customers in the UK, including well know high street names, and government departments including the NHS. In recent years, there has been a move by businesses to demonstrate their Duty of Care, in light of the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. We can provide fleet advanced driving courses as a one off project, or on a continual basis for new drivers. We can train both car, van and now LGV drivers, across the UK.

We also offer advanced driving courses to private individuals too.

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Benefits of our fleet advanced driving courses:

1. Reduce your accident rate among your drivers
2. Reduce fleet insurance costs
3. Improve driver morale
4. Improved average MPG a cross the fleet
5. Improved company reputation
6. Demonstrating your duty of care

Our fleet advanced driving courses is usually based on a 2:1 format. This is where one tutor trains two drivers a day. One in the morning for 3.5hrs and one in the afternoon for the same time period. We can offer a half day only, or a full day too. Around 90% of our customers opt for the 2:1 basis due to the cost and time savings. Training currently costs £155 + vat a driver on a 3.5hr session, so should you wish to train a number of drivers in your fleet, the prices would be:

2 drivers – £310 + vat
10 drivers – £1,550 + vat
30 drivers – £4,650 + VAT
50 drivers – £7,750 + vat

We can offer a discount if you wish to train 100+ drivers. Also we can create a bespoke training service based on your own training needs. With some clients we work with, they already have their own in-house team of fleet driver trainers, and we step in and provide additional support and help as and when needed. Our fleet advanced driving courses are road based although we can offer classroom sessions too. We have worked with companies that require classroom sessions for all drivers, and then those classed as “high-risk” go on to do a road based session. Equally we have worked with clients who have put all drivers in their fleet on computer based risk assessment, and those classed as “at-risk” have on-road training.

What our fleet advanced driving courses cover:

1. Introduction to the System of Car Control
2. Developing awareness and attention
3. Improving a drivers car control
4. Laws of the road
5. Developing a positive driving mindset
6. Ecosafe driving
7. The psychology of driving
8. Dealing with Road Rage
9. Tips for dealign with skids and skid control
10. Help in dealing with a range of adverse weather conditions

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We understand selecting the right fleet driving course is vital to your business. Should you wish to learn more about how we can help you, or to receive a brochure in the post, please contact us using the contact us page, and a member of our team will be pleased to help. We are a dynamic, entrepreneurial business operating in the established sector of driver training.

We differentiate ourselves based on our genuine passion for advanced driving, providing the very best training, at prices very few can match. Our dedication to advanced driving speaks for itself. Not only are we a commercial training provider, our website is also one of the most respected advanced driving resources on the web, and is home to the largest advanced driving forum in the UK. We have already helped many thousands of people to become safer motorists and plan to expend our help to many more.

You can view our course location routes for a few cities and towns around the UK here

Peer Pressure – Driving Under the Influence

Stephen Haley has written a third article in his thought-provoking series, “How to make novice drivers crash”. This one is on Peer Pressure.

The article opens with: “Another title for this article could have been, “Friends Killing Each Other”. It is about peer pressure on young drivers – how it works, the effect and how to overcome it”.

See what you think. I believe that, for both adults and youngsters, this article contains a lot of very practical help in a vital area of driving.


Young drivers still have about five times the death rate of other drivers, and a strong influence in raising their risk is peer pressure.

At the root of the problem, adolescents feel a strong need to impress their peers. And this obsession is a weakness in making their own decisions. Peer pressure is anchored in a subconscious belief that, “I must do what my peers want and expect”. But trying to impress rarely has the intended effect – especially with reckless driving.

The motives of people who apply this pressure are explained, especially that it is a form of exercising control. Also set out are the reasons why peer pressure is so strong for adolescents in particular.

A separate section, written more directly to young people themselves, offers Twenty Tips for handling peer pressure. These include how to prepare for it in advance, and how to make it less likely to happen.

Importantly, it is not inevitable that peer pressure will make young drivers more dangerous. With the right help, they could handle it.

Read more

Being Distracted by Kids When Driving

In an ideal world, we would all give our driving 100 per cent of our concentration, 100 per cent of the time. But of course that doesn’t happen.

Driving experts acknowledge that internal distractions can be every bit as dangerous as the external distractions. Both are compounded by drivers simply letting their concentration slip, to the point when they are on “auto pilot”.

But what is the greatest single distraction that drivers have to deal with?

Well, surprisingly, according to a survey by a manufacturer recently, the number one distraction in the car is passengers – specifically, the kids in the back.

If you are planning a journey with young children, you do have to be organized. And that goes beyond simply packing the boot with all their stuff, and strapping them in.

Take on board the needs of your young passengers before you start Plenty of food and especially drink are key, and if it’s a long journey put more stops in than you would allow for adult passengers. When you stop for a break, find somewhere that the kids can “let off steam” while you stretch your legs.

Have a plastic bag (without holes) handy, but out of reach of the children themselves, to cope with travel sickness.

Then when you are back on the road, deploy toys and books, or electronic games that are needed to keep you children quiet.

One idea is a “day bag” full of surprises that can’t be opened until you are underway – packed with pencils, puzzle books and cheap simple amusements. Even long European trips are possible in relative peace and quiet when the back seat passengers are absorbed.

Needless to say, a second adult to look after the children makes a massive difference: leaving the driver to drive.

Young, first-time parents, in particular, tend to be focused on their new offspring almost to the exclusion of everything else. For the rest of us, those “Baby on board” signs are a good clue that we may be about to encounter a driver prone to sudden noisy (and smelly!) distractions.

Learn more about driver distractions with this fact sheet from RoSPA