Distracted driving

Due to the proliferation of technology in modern culture, there have never been more distractions in our lives. Unsurprisingly, the biggest distraction is the mobile phone. According to Ofcom, the UK has become a nation of mobile phone addicts, with 37% of adults and 60% of teenagers admitting that they are ‘highly addicted’ to their mobiles and are unable to go without checking them for even the shortest periods of time.

Using a Mobile Phone While Driving

Inevitably, and more worryingly, this mobile addiction has been carried over into the driving habits of motorists. Even though 83% think it’s unacceptable to take even a short call with a hand-held phone while driving, 12% do think it’s a reasonable thing to do, up from 7% last year. The problem has become so prominent that 34% of drivers are now worried about other drivers on the road being distracted by their mobile phones.

Mobile Phone Driving Law

The law regarding using your phone while driving:

  • It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone when are you driving. This includes texting, checking social media and using your mobile phone to follow a map. These rules also apply whilst you are stationary waiting in traffic.
  • You are only permitted to use your mobile phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is too dangerous to stop.
  • The use of hands-free mobile phones is permitted while driving, but if you are not in control of your vehicle you can still be prosecuted.

Penalties for using your mobile phone while driving include:

  • An automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.
  • Going to court and being disqualified from driving, as well as a maximum fine of £1,000.
  • New drivers losing their licence if they get 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing their test.

Some of the other common distractions to avoid when driving are:

  • Playing loud music, as this may drown out other sounds
  • Reading maps
  • Adjusting the in-car sound system
  • Arguing with passengers or other road users
  • Drinking and eating
  • Smoking

Not all distractions can be avoided when out in the car though such as restless children or unexpected poor weather conditions. Make sure you plan ahead and take adequate breaks in these situations.

Find further information here on car insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019* to get a quote.

RAC Car insurance

Get up to 70% off RAC Car Insurance with 9+ years no claims discount


*03 numbers are charged at national call rates and are usually included in inclusive minute plans from landlines and mobiles. Calls may be recorded and/or monitored.

RAC Insurance is a trading name of RAC Financial Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 5171817. Registered office: RAC House, Brockhurst Crescent, Walsall, WS5 4AW. RAC Car Insurance and RAC Home Insurance are arranged and administered by BISL Limited, which is an independent intermediary. Registered in England no. 3231094. Registered office: Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS. Both companies are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.