posted 5 years ago

‘Social Media’ when driving on the increase

Police increasingly concerned

Police are becoming more and more concerned about motorists using social media when driving.  The head of roads policing in England and Wales, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, says people posting updates, taking photos and video calling behind the wheel is becoming more common.  "I'm increasingly concerned because young people are absolutely glued to their mobile technology," said Chief Constable Suzette Davenport. "Whether that's social networking or texting, people cannot afford to be doing that when they are driving.”

A recent RAC survey has found that 20% of 17 to 19-year-olds admitted using Facebook or Twitter while driving. This is definitely a cause for concern as accidents are also up in numbers due to distraction when driving.  The facts reveal mobile phone while driving, reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50% slower than normal driving and even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.

Imogen Cauthery, 27, sustained serious injuries after being hit by a car as a child. Witnesses say the driver was distracted by a mobile phone. Imogen has epilepsy, learning difficulties and memory impairment as a result of the accident. Imogen said "I was on my way to the swimming pool with my mum, sister and best friend Jeannette, a car came round the corner, on his phone, and I was hit. A passing doctor gave me CPR at the scene and I was taken to hospital where they froze my brain. A woman from North Carolina in the US lost her life after slamming her car head on into a truck while posting selfies and a Facebook update about how happy she was while listening to a Pharrell song. Authorities said the post, visible only to her friends, was made at 8.33 a.m., the first 911 call received about the crash was one minute later. In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy.

Distraction is deadly when driving. Drivers need to keep their mind and eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel to drive safely. Giving into distractions is a bit like drink-driving: it affects reaction times and control, and could easily cost someone their life.

There is no doubt that texting has caused accidents and even death and we should not be doing it. Eating and drinking on the move might seems harmless but research shows that this reduces our ability to react quickly so it quite obvious it is impossible to be in control of a car posting pictures, reading updates or actually texting. 


Only hands free mobile phones should be used while driving, a heavy fine for other mobile users while driving.

Oh No!! Its the Mobile Phone User. What about the SMOKER? Please don't tell me talking to some body else is so distracting, or are they going to Ban all conversation in cars? At least you can throw a phone down, WHAT happens when you DROP A CIGARETTE? oops, you get a FIRE

The car designer Sir Alec Issigonis believed cars should not even be fitted with ordinary radios to distract the driver and so most of his creations had no facility for fitting them. He had a good point even though the traffic density was relatively low through the 1950's and 60's and the cruising speed of a small family car then was about 55mph. The reaction time of the human brain remains very much the same as in those far-off days because if anything the human race has devolved rather than evolved since then while vehicle velocities have risen and more significantly the rate at which cars can change velocity has risen; the need today is for fewer distractions in vehicles than in 1950 and not more. While on a long journey it is useful to have some small distractions to prevent staleness and fatigue but the road conditions must be chosen carefully so eating a sweet or being given a drink by a passenger enhances road safety and not jeopardises it. The best use of social media is having returned home rating any interactions with the police or other official bodies, naming and shaming individuals and providing the registration numbers of police and other official vehicles that have been driven less than perfectly if a passenger is able to record them. The police need the moral high ground in order to be effective role models; recently I have observed police officers drinking while driving, using a phone while driving, travelling the wrong way down a one-way street while laughing and joking with a rear seat passenger (the driver looking over his shoulder). I have even seen a Bobby stopping to use a cash machine and then driving away a considerable distance without lights even though it was the middle of the night...

Interesting article unfortunately this is not a very well researched area. There are so many various distractions when driving. Drivers observation, concentration and attitudes are affected by a eclectic multi layered number of issues. The number of motorists talking to passengers and looking astray is and will be equally a danger. People will not change social conditioning and behaiour is indeliby imprinted on the sub concious, the car for most people is an extension of a hermeticaly sealed home. As sad it is these incidents will only increase whilst one allows technology in the car with a human driving the car.

In answer to John Munday... the Police are prosecuting but its up to the Judge to issue the sentence and they are not severe enough.

my car is fully blue tooth, i picked up my phone at red traffic light to see who had just test, did not call anyone did not intend to call anyone, did not test anyone did not intend to text anyone, police car at the side of me pulls me over and charges me twat would not listen to any word of reason, then drives off feeling like he has saved the world another £100 for the pol(ice) tax, police have hand held radios in cars do they get chrged using them do the fekk as like

The police will obviously never crush cars . We need to get more traffic police out there and maybe look at funding them from the fines collected. When a driver is pulled over a large non removable sticker put on their rear window stating "I was caught on my mobile" so the shame will also be a punishment. Same for smokers and burger eaters too!

if caught on a Mobil phone while driving not only should you get points on you licence but your vehicle should be crushed regardless of age of vehicle or personnel inconvenience also should be treated same as drink driving and insurance should go sky high, car should be crushed every time any one is caught drink driving, on drugs or using a Mobil phone, offence in either is offensive to all other members of the public who use the road, about time we had a government who had a couple of those round things.

I am increasingly concerned that the police are not prosecuting the phone/drivers, I see dozens every day.

Get caught texting while driving and get a 12 month ban. A second similar offence should be followed by a lifetime driving ban. The only trouble is that police officers have accused people of using mobile phones when the phone was provably switched off! The 'average' Magistrate is so stupid that he/she will believe anything given in evidence by a uniform. They're bewitched by the shiny buttons.

motorists who use a mobile phone while driving should get a three month ban as well as the three points on their licence

police do need to clamp down on this, i also very much like the comment that we should ALL sit a retest every 3 yrs, after all if you really are a good driver what have you got to fear? cannot afford to take a test every 3 yrs? then you cannot afford to drive- hand back your licence!

Easy answer. Fit all vehicles with a phone blocking device that activates when the ignition is on and make disabling it a criminal offense.

It is about itme the Gov't made it illegal to use any hand held device hwhter hands-free or not. There is so much evidence that driving on our congested roads in variable weather conditions is a very full-time job without these avoidable distractions

I agree with Sandy TB TB Why cant we have switches not screens and menus. We need more retesting of offending motorists to gain access back on the road ROSPA say we need a new test every three years as an advanced motorist!!

Having read all comments to date, the one I like best is the destruction of the mobile phone by the police when they stop a user. Perhaps a better solution would be to confiscate the phone and then recoup costs by selling it on a Police auction site, minus the sim card of course. Anyone left stranded thereby, due to loss of their satnav app, should head for the nearest town and buy a dedicated satnav. Cost extra? Yes it would. Regard it as a cheap life insurance premium.

You should lose your licence at once and forever. If you do not understand it is a dangerous distraction you simply are not fit the drive. The hands free rubbish was a sop to the mobile phone companies.

A couple of you have mentioned a re-test for serious offences, particularly after a ban. The truth is that The Police will tell you that when a culprit is taken to court, the judges are not issuing enough re-tests as part of the punishment.(I have been told this by Police in the past) Also when attending for a re-test, the DSA via its Senior Driving Examiners (SDE's) will often tell the Driving Examiner " just remember that they are not novice drivers" other words they are saying " don't be too harsh on the offender, his/her lively hood could be at stake. The DSA seem to over look the seriouness of the offence. To apportion blame for a lot of the bad driving on our roads look to the DSA.Although there is no quoter of Pass and Fail we were often told.."try to pass a few more!!!" bonkers is that....I know this from experiece!!!!!!!!!!

Sandy says: "... why then are car manufacturers 'decluttering' to quote one, by moving all switches & knobs onto a multi-tasking touch screen..." I think the answer is, because they can and it's a very trendy technology that is becoming more and more affordable. If you are operating a Touch-screen, whether in a car, a living room, or on a phone/tablet, you HAVE to actually LOOK at it, to see what your are touching, and correcting the wrong touches, etc. To use such a device, you HAVE to give it your full and undivided attention. At least with old-fashioned buttons and knobs you can feel with your sense of touch.... I still reckon that steering-wheel-mounted controls (eg for radio etc) are a good thing.

Neither the police or the government are interested in stopping this offence because catching the culprits does not bring in enough revenue.Speed cameras are the best money raiser and I have always failed to see why cameras cannot be used to catch mobile phone users,after all we have cameras for everything else.

I tell you what would make the youngsters sit up and take notice. If they get caught using a mobile device behind the wheel, give the Police the powers to crush their phone there and then. News would soon spread once a few phones at £400 a pop were crushed at the roadside. Hmm guess portable mobile phone crushers aren't that readily available, but then there's always the option of a 3 pound lump hammer from a DIY shop!

David Wright. You simply have no idea how a phone or satnav works have you??? A satnav or a phone with maps installed needs GPS. To send or receive data (selfies etc) via the internet a phone needs a network, two different things. Plus how are people going to follow a GPS device to get to where they need to be if they're switched off??

Every time i go out in my car i see people using mobiles it's totaly frustrating that you can not report them.allso if the police go out in unmarked cars thay would catch hundreds every day.

Satnav and any other device with GPS should simply not be operable whilst in motion in a car. That would then be a selling!!! Or is that too boring in this 'now now' connected world

I agree with Richard B that car manufacturers are making matters far worse with touchscreen technology. It's not even simpler to use for anyone over 40. Wouldn't it be very simple to deactivate these devices for certain more complicated functions whilst on the move. My car does not allow many functions whilst driving to be changed but far too many things can be adjusted. But what was wrong with simple slide or rotating switches for heating and other simple controls? Despite many fingertip controls on my steering wheel, other commonly used controls for heating, aircon and media are set far too low on the centre console. For those that need it, the ashtrays are nearly alsways too low and out of sight. Also, many items are impossible to read with sunglasses on. Do manufacturers ever test their cars instrument panels with sunglasses on - apparently not.

I agree with James, if you use a mobile whilst driving- a years ban - maybe with a re-test at the end of it. Although manufacturers don't help; Touch screens are at the same level of menace too!

it is just as bad as drink driving it should be banned i know people who use facebook etc at home and they can contrate hate to think what they are like in the car

Since many units now have sat-nav capabilities, have some mechanism of locking down some functions if device is in motion over a certain velocity with over-ride if you are a passenger. Trouble is some people would permanently over-ride or operate the over-ride while driving anyway but if (like my sat-nav) you get a warning first that does remove a layer of deniability.

Sorry, I meant to add that it is illegal to adjust your satnav IN FRANCE. Sorry, but I was just coming up to a busy roundabout at the time!!!!

The Law should bring in One year Ban & fine like D/Drive !!

There are numerous things that stupid drivers do whilst driving. The recent pic of a guy reading a map completely obscuring his vision for many seconds is not uncommon. Most lorry and van drivers don't seem to be able to go more than 5 miles without eating or drinking whilst at the wheel let alone using mobile phones, people smoking in my view is potentially very dangerous on the roads, and my pet hate is those people who as the driver continually turn towards their front seat passenger when chatting. But as others have already stated, the punishment never seems to fit the crime. I agree that it should be a compulsory 12 month ban, and prison for causing injury, and a severe sentence for causing death by driving whilst doing something distracting. It's also illegal to adjust a satnav whilst on the move. And recently, I saw a 'P' driver with a satnav in the middle of her field of view. And how many people select the night screen on their satnavs? The glare you see at night coming from many cars' satnavs must be so distracting for the drivers. But you cannot legislate for stupidity.

I totally agree with the two comments made, and it is a major problem, not only with the young drivers, but also older drivers. We do not have sufficient police officers to monitor the idiot drivers using mobiles etc.There needs to be a law were the public can report these drivers and the police then write to the driver concerned stating they had been seen using their media device. One would need to pass on the vehicle registration,make of vehicle and colour, time seen and place were seen. Bu we would probably get the PC brigade saying it was infringing on their rights. They would have no rights if they are caught or kill or injure someone.

All very true, but why then are car manufacturers "decluttering" to quote one, by moving all switches & knobs onto a multi-tasking touch screen. You have to keep looking at it during and after however many prods to achieve what you want - like putting the radio on or changing the heating.

I never go driving without seeing mostly young women texting especially whilst stopped at traffic lights. I have also noticed it while they are actually driving. They obviously have phone on their knees and can tell by the way their head moves up and down that they are sending and receiving texts. . Think texting on the move is a lot more dangerous than phoning. Don't know what can be done about it. They don't seem to care.

AJ - I totally and utterly agree. You only have to read the two dreadful examples here and it is pretty clear the current punishment DOES NOT fit the crime !!

Seeing people using a mobile while driving makes my blood boil. Why do they do it, because the worse they think that can happen is a few points and a pitiful fine. The problem is not going to get better until much stiffer sentences are introduced. Research has already shown that using a mobile while driving causes a reduction of concentration greater than that caused by being over the legal drink drive limit. If that is the case then clearly the MINIMUM punishment for using a mobile while driving is a 12 month ban. That coupled with the chance of a lengthy jail sentence if acutally causing an accident should go some way to focussing the mind of these morons.