insurethebox supports Think! campaign and urges drivers to put their mobile phone in the glove box
One year on from the introduction of the 6 points penalty for use of a mobile phone, global pioneer of telematics-based car insurance insurethebox is asking whether new drivers understand the rules for in-car mobile phone use.
New data released by the Department of Transport Think! campaign reveals that since 1st March 2017, more than 26,000 drivers have received 6 points for holding and using their phone while driving. A proportion of these could have been people who had passed their driving test less than two years ago, meaning that they will have also lost their licence – throwing away all the hard work and cost of learning to driving and taking their test.
insurethebox is concerned that some drivers may not realise when it is illegal to use a mobile phone. Research conducted by the telematics insurance provider found that nearly 1 in 5 (18.38%) of drivers admitted to using their phone for getting directions while driving, which is illegal.
“Many new drivers will be using their mobile phones to access directions rather than investing in separate satnav devices, as they can add a significant cost – especially for a young driver,” explained Simon Rewell, Road Safety Manager, insurethebox. “It’s not surprising, therefore, that over 18% of those who completed our survey said they use their phone in the car for directions. But do they realise that it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving?
“This seems to be a grey area – so it’s important that learner drivers gain clear direction from their instructors to understand exactly how and when they can use a mobile phone – and when they must not. While using a mobile phone hands-free in a car as a satnav is legal, drivers should enter directions BEFORE starting the journey and the device must be securely fixed in the car. However, it is important to note that if this usage distracts the driver and they cause an accident, they can still be prosecuted – regardless of whether the mobile device is securely fixed to the car”.
The new Think! campaign urges motorists to use their glovebox as their phone box. A sentiment insurethebox supports. “We urge motorists to avoid ever holding a mobile phone while driving, and to resist the temptation of looking at the phone, even if stuck in a queue of traffic, added Simon Rewell. “If there is a need to use the phone as a satnav, motorists should pull over to either add or amend directions. The ‘do not disturb’ function that is now so common on mobile devices should be switched on so that there is no risk of distraction while driving.”
The six penalty point cap in force for the first two years for newly qualified drivers means that if they’re caught using a mobile phone they could lose their licence for their first offence. Losing their licence in these circumstances means motorists would have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence before having to pass both the theory and practical parts of the test again to get a full licence, once the ban is lifted. In addition, they would have to declare the points on their licence to any new insurer which could result in their insurance premiums increasing when they get back on the road.
insurethebox policies provide an initial 6,000, 8,000 or 10,000 miles of cover. A telematics box installed in the vehicle then monitors the policyholder’s driving and rewards safer drivers with up to 100 free bonus miles per month. Customers can check their progress through a customised online portal and see how many extra miles they have earned. Renewal premiums consider individual driving style and provide safer drivers with lower premiums.
 Insurethebox customer research conducted November 2017 – 185 respondents