What does the change to driving while using mobile phone penalties in the UK tell us about solution design?

So imagine you are driving at 50 miles an hour and you start to text and a child runs out in front of the car.

Are you going to be prepared to stop or avoid the child?

You are driving on a motorway, you check twitter and the car in front of you veers into the arm-cove?

What can you do? How fast can you react?

RoSPA has some advice at RoSPA MOBILE PHONES AND DRIVING from December 2015

“A substantial body of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and substantially increases the risk of the driver crashing.

Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
  • fail to see road signs
  • fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
  • are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
  • react more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
  • feel more stressed and frustrated.

They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and other people.”

There have been a number of high profile cases in the UK of people using the mobile phone whilst driving including a lorry driver who caused the deaths of 4 people whilst scrolling through his phone looking for music.

The consequences of these sort of actions are explained and shown in these two videos:

The RAC Report on Motoring 2016 found that this is the largest road safety concern for drivers in the UK.

“More than two in five (41%) of motorists say that drivers using handheld mobile phones – whether to make and receive calls, send text messages, or browse the internet – is one of their top four concerns, up from a third (34%) in 2015 – a higher percentage than for any other issue.”

“Despite this high level of concern, a significant minority of motorists do admit to using handheld phones to make or receive calls while driving. Almost a third (31%) have done so at least once in the past 12 months: 15% say they rarely do so, 10% say they use their phones in this way only sometimes, while 6% admit using handheld phones at the wheel most or all of the time.”

Employers and employees mobile phone while driving responsibilities

It helps to be clear on the law in the UK. Fundamentally, it is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone whilst a car is switched on.


From Using mobile phones when driving – gov.uk

  • It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or riding a motorcycle.
  • The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
  • You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. This includes if you’re using devices like your sat nav or car radio.

When you can use a phone in your vehicle

If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you:

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

Penalties for using your phone while driving

You could get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.
Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500
Updated 30th November 2016

A good guide for employers is provided by RoSPA, Driving for Work: Mobile Phones.

Some ideas to help stop distraction whilst driving

  • Turn on airplane mode, this will stop all data and message reaching the phone.
  • Switch to voicemail while driving.
  • Turn off notifications.
  • Place your phone in your bag and away from driving position.
  • Add an app that blocks texts and phone calls when moving.
    safe driving app on google play store
  • Ensure you take regular breaks on longer trips if you need to check for email, texts, WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
  • Tell your colleagues and family you are driving and wont be able to answer the phone.
  • Use a location sharing service so your family can know where you are without contacting you. Share your location from Google.

We make an Issue Management Solution, why do we care about drivers?

Drivers are people who are using a large amount of their mental effort to drive a car, any distraction can effect the way they drive or the quality of their driving .

When a person is at work, they will be using a large amount of mental effort to do their job. If something goes wrong, or they spot an issue, we want to give them the simplest tool, that requires the least effort to raise this issue.

Our job is to make the process of raising an issue as stress free as possible. Simple screen layouts, clear instructions and feedback, help the raisor get on with their work, sure that the issue will be dealt with.