Mobile Phone Scourge!

icon-picture-250Mobile Phone Scourge! – Distracted Driving – Mark It – Map It!

Generally it can be said that a motorcyclist’s lot is a happy one. Out on the road being observant and looking out for our own skin while interacting with other vehicles, however one observation that always crops up from riders is the use of mobile phones by other vehicle users.

There doesn’t seem to be a week from Northern Ireland or Europe or even globally that on the internet especially the social media of Facebook and Twitter, there is a campaign launched to highlight the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

The use of the mobile phone whilst driving – talking or texting is an ongoing scourge – with riders’ continued observance of their use with some very high profile court cases of riders killed by drivers whilst using mobile phones.

This scourge is relentless with police carrying out specific enforcement zero-tolerance crackdowns on illegal phone use with tickets and fines. It seems to make no difference as a threat to motorists as police exercise no discretion in relation to mobile phone use.

Last year’s Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing at 12 sites throughout Northern Ireland covering urban, rural and motorway locations observed 13,584 cars and details of 20,438 occupants were recorded, found that for mobile phone use:

One per cent of drivers were observed using a mobile phone, 0.6 per cent of whom were using a hand-held phone (illegal) compared with 0.7 per cent in 2013 and 0.3per cent who were using a hands-free phone (legal but still distracting) compared with 0.4 per cent last year.

Interestedly drivers were more likely to be using a mobile phone whilst driving on a rural road (1.2per cent) than on an urban road (0.9per cent) or a motorway (0.4 per cent) maybe they think that nobody will be watching.

The figures break down as 13,584 observed, male drivers 7,753 and Female drivers 5,831. However 99.1% were observed not using a mobile phone of either hands-free or hand held.

This seems to us to be a very low figure and maybe because of the static sites used to observe drivers which would limit identifying this problem, because on any day, at any time, on any road, drivers can be observed using mobile phones.

Advice – Rules – Regulations – Guidelines

bikemobilephone-250Advice and rules and regulations and guidelines for not using mobile phones whilst driving are at every turn in road safety messages and campaigns, featured on the news, police stop camera type programmes, social media, specific police enforcement campaigns and the High Way Code.

Last week saw the first ever UK wide campaign to specifically combat the use of mobile phones whilst driving.

The text to the campaign read, “The number of motorists using mobiles to make calls, texts & social media updates has increased and has been deemed to be the principle causation factor in a number of serious collisions. Using a mobile while driving increases the risk of a collision by a factor of four and driving ability is decreased to something similar to that observed for driving at the legal alcohol limit. Road Policing patrols will be ‪#‎keepingpeoplesafe‬ as they look for drivers who flout the law.”

The Northern Ireland Department Of The Environment (DOE) – Road Safety Education – has produced an advisory leaflet which highlights the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Although they say that, “Having a phone with you on a journey can be smart for personal security and to help in an emergency.” The main message is that, “If you use a mobile phone while driving, you’re one call from being a killer, one text from being in prison.”

One of the latest campaigns, with an accompanying video, is from Kent County Council’s road safety team, who found that a third of drivers in the county use their mobile phones while driving, including texting or accessing social networks, despite knowing it is dangerous and illegal.

Another one from England is my red thumb which has travelled across from Colorado, USA, originally called Red Thumb Reminder it was a reminder for people not to use their phone whilst driving; through painting their thumb nail red. So every time a driver saw their red thumb they were reminded of the message.

We could go on picking these campaigns and videos out from all over the world but what we want to see is actually how prevalent mobile phone and distracted vehicle user use is.

If you want to help, then you can go to our “Mobile Phone Scourge – Mark It – Map It!” online map were you can add a “marker” if you have spotted a road user on their mobile phone talking or texting “illegally” or some other distraction so you can then gauge the ongoing scourge of mobile phone usage on the road.

“Mobile Phone Scourge – Mark It – Map It!” – Click Here


Links & Information

Seatbelt Survey Report 2014– pdf 1.1MB – Click Here
Seatbelt Survey Appendix Detailed Tables 2014 – excel (159KB) – Click Here

DaCoTA (2012) Car telephone use while driving, Deliverable 4.8b of the EC FP7 project DaCoTA – pdf – Click Here

Kent County Council’s – Make The Right Call – Click Here
My Red Thumb –

Department Of The Environment – Road Safety Education – Mobile Phones

road-safety-mobile-phones-leafletRoad Safety Education leaflet highlighting the dangers of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

One lapse can last a lifetime.

Having a phone with you on a journey can be smart for personal security and to help in an emergency.

BUT if you are someone who can’t take your eyes of your mobile phone, take a look at the consequences when you are driving.

If you use or are distracted by a or read a text message while driving: outside your lane. mobile phone while driving, you could kill or seriously injure someone and face up to 14 years in prison.

It is against the law for employers to ask their staff to make or receive calls while driving.

Never lift a mobile phone to take or make a call or text while driving or riding even when you are stopped in traffic. Find a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later.

It is an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone whilst a vehicle is stationary in a lay-by or at the side of
the road with the engine running.

If you use a mobile phone while driving, you’re one call from being a killer, one text from being in prison” – pdf – Click Here

Mobile Phone Use – NI (Northern Ireland) Direct Government Services

v1-nidirect-white-logo2When driving or riding a vehicle, you should not use or be distracted by your mobile phone.

If you use your mobile phone when driving or riding a vehicle, you’ll risk prosecution.

Using a phone while driving – the law

It is illegal to drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike while using a hand-held mobile phone or a similar device like a BlackBerry.

It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone when supervising a learner driver or rider.

Hands-free phones can also be a distraction and you’ll risk prosecution for not having proper control of your vehicle when using one.

How you could be breaking the law

If, while driving, you pick up or use any type of phone that must be held you will be breaking the law.

This means you should not use your mobile phone:

  • when you are stopped at traffic lights
  • when you are queuing in traffic
  • to make or receive calls
  • to send or receive picture and text messages
  • to access the internet

Using other devices for sending or receiving data whilst driving is also an offence. That includes BlackBerries and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) if they have a mobile phone built in.
If you are an employer, you can be prosecuted if you ask employees to make or receive calls while driving.
Calling someone when they’re driving
Callers play an important role. If you ring someone on their mobile phone who turns out to be driving when they answer, say you’ll call them later and hang up.
Using a hand-held phone in your vehicle
You can only use your mobile phone in a vehicle:

  • to call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency where it is unsafe or impracticable to stop
  • if you are safely parked
  • if you are a passenger

The penalties for using your phone while driving
If you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving or riding, you’ll get an automatic fixed penalty notice – three penalty points and a fine of £60.
If your case goes to court, you may face disqualification on top of a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses and goods vehicles face a maximum fine of £2,500.
If you reach six or more points within two years of passing your test, your licence will be taken off you. You’ll need to re-sit your driving test to get your licence back.
Original Source – NI Direct Government Services – 4th October 2014 – Click Here

The Highway Code – Northern Ireland

higwaycode-coverRule 97 – Before setting off ……………. You should ensure that – you have switched off your mobile phone.

Rule 149 – Mobile phones and in-vehicle technology

You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times.

You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver, except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

Never use a hand-held microphone when driving.

Using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road.

It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding – find a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later.

Laws RTO 1995 Arts 10, 12 & 56A & CUR regs 120 & 125A

Rule 150 – There is a danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multimedia, etc.

You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times.

Do not rely on driver assistance programs such as cruise control or lane departure warnings. They are available to assist but you should not reduce your concentration levels.

Do not be distracted by maps or screen-based information (such as navigation or vehicle management systems) while driving or riding. If necessary find a safe place to stop.

Laws RTO 1995 Arts 10 & 12 & CUR reg 120

Driving On The Motorway

Rule 270 – Stopping – You MUST NOT stop on the carriageway, hard shoulder, slip road, central reservation or verge except in an emergency, or when told to do so by the police, an emergency sign or by flashing red light signals. Do not stop on the hard shoulder to either make or receive mobile phone calls.

Law MTR regs 5, 8 & 10


Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence.

You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving.

In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison.

Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT.’

In addition, each rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence.

An explanation of the abbreviations is included in the Highway Code.

Original source The Highway Code

Download the complete Highway Code (PDF 8.7 MB) – Click Here

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