RAC urges drivers to promise to put their phones away as new laws come in

RAC urges drivers to promise to put their phones away as new laws come in
Motorists are being urged to promise not to use a handheld phone while driving as the number of penalty points for the offence doubles.  

The initiative comes from the RAC, with the organisation creating a website – BePhoneSmart.uk – allowing people to publicly promise to never use a handheld phone when driving.

They can even create and share a personal photo pledge with friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

The RAC wants to make people think differently about smartphone use behind the wheel and help them to make positive changes to their behaviours. 

From today penalty points and fines have doubled to six and £200 respectively. The Department for Transport is bringing in the tougher laws after research suggested widespread phone use behind the wheel.

The RAC warned in September that the illegal use of mobile phones behind the wheel was on the rise, with 1 in 4 drivers (26%) admitting to checking texts, emails and social media while driving, according to the organisation’s latest Report on Motoring.

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Now the RAC wants drivers to use its Be Phone Smart website to make their own personal commitment to never again use a handheld smartphone while driving.

Police chiefs, road safety campaigners, industry and the Government have lent their support to the new initiative – which is live today[SG1] .

Drivers making a pledge promise to:

  • Never use a handheld phone when driving or while stopped in traffic
  • Commit to keeping their focus firmly on the road ahead, for everyone’s safety
  • Tell their friends, their family and other people they know they have made the promise – and ask them to do the same

The move was welcomed by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.

READ MORE: ‘Alarming’ rise in illegal mobile phone use behind the wheel

Chief executive officer Sarah Sillars called it a ‘welcome solution that every driver should sign up to’.

The RAC suggests educating drivers of the risks of using their phones behind the wheel has a big part to play alongside law enforcement.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “We recognise that tackling a problem as complex as the UK’s mobile phone one was going to require a huge amount of effort. Tougher laws, as introduced today, combined with targeted enforcement by police forces and a sustained package of education telling drivers about the risks of driving distracted are all crucial.

“At the same time, encouraging motorists to take personal responsibility for their actions – and to really think about the relationship they have with their smartphone when they get in the driver’s seat – needs to be at the heart of a campaign to change their behaviour.

“We created BePhoneSmart.uk so that drivers can take a positive step by committing to not using a handheld phone – quite simply, to make an online promise to keep within the law, to keep their focus on the road ahead, and to share the message on to other people that they know.

“Choosing to use a handheld phone at the wheel is a personal decision, and so is choosing to give up the habit. The more individual drivers, businesses and other organisations we can get making the promise, the greater motivation others will have to change their behaviour – and together the roads can be made a safer place.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.