We all want to stay connected. And it seems so simple – what’s the danger in a quick glance, a quicker reply, an urgent message?

But on average you look at your phone 5 times for every text you read or write ¹

And you’re taking your eyes off the road for about 1.4 seconds every time you look.

That quickly adds up to a lot of road you won’t see….each time you touch your phone. At 60km/h (37mph) it’s the same as closing your eyes for 22 metres – or 5 car lengths.

Have a look at this entertaining driving test from Belgium if you need convincing…

The facts

There’s no such thing as a safe text while driving. Research carried out in the UK by the RAC Foundation ² showed that texting while driving slows drivers’ reaction times by over a third (35%) which was worse than being at the legal drink drive limit (12% slower) and driving under the influence of cannabis (21% slower). Plus, texting made it much harder for drivers to keep to a safe speed and road position so they were far more likely to swerve out of lane. Longer reaction times and less control of speed and lane position make you dramatically more likely to have a collision. In fact, you’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving ³. You’ll never want to text and drive again after watching these videos:

The law

It’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road even if you’ve stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam. ⁴ If you’re caught you can get an automatic fixed penalty notice with 3 penalty points on your driving licence and a fine of £100 ⁵, plus your insurance costs could increase. You could also end up in court, be disqualified from driving and get a maximum fine of £1,000. But that’s not all, you can also be prosecuted for careless driving or dangerous driving which carry much higher penalties. If you kill someone in an accident because of texting (or phoning) while driving you can expect a long prison sentence. Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The only times you can use your phone when you’re driving are if you:

  • need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop; or you
  • are safely parked.

(You can use a hands-free phone but if the police think you’re distracted you could still be stopped and penalised.)

The answer

Ask yourself a question: “Is it worth putting the lives of my passengers, other drivers and myself at risk so I can send a text?” Break the habit now. It’s really very simple, whenever you drive put your phone on silent and out of sight and touch. You can also download one of many apps to help you stop texting while driving. But please, whatever you do, keep your eyes off the phone and on the road. Your life may depend on it.


[1] NRMA Insurance ‘Think About It Series’ http://mashable.com/2012/09/21/youtube-texting-driving-psas/#gallery/10-texting-and-driving-psas/520c85ec3182974a3d00039c
[2] http://www.racfoundation.org/research/safety/texting-whilst-driving
[3] http://think.direct.gov.uk/mobile-phones.html
[4] http://think.direct.gov.uk/mobile-phones.html
[5] https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law.