Cabbie night out

The facts

  • Drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
  • Research shows:
    • You are 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.
    • Your reaction times are 2 times slower if you text and drive using a hands-free phone than if you drink drive, and this increases to three times if you use a handheld phone.
  • Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash. At 30 mph a car travels 100 feet in 2.3 seconds.

The law

  • It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone or similar device for any purpose when driving. This means you cannot hold a phone or similar device in your hand to follow a map, read and send messages, make or take calls, use the Internet, take a photo, or change a music track.
  • It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver.
  • These both apply even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • You can use a handheld phone if you
    • need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
    • are making a contactless payment at, for example, a drive-thru
    • are parking the vehicle remotely using an App on the phone.
  • You should wait until you are safely parked before using a hand-held mobile phone.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence, a fixed penalty notice of £200 or a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 if you’re a bus or lorry driver).
  • You’ll also be risking a driving ban; if you get just 6 points in the first 2 years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
  • Using a hands-free device (for example, for navigation) is not a specific offence in the same way as using a hand-held mobile phone. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

The consequences

  • You risk a driving ban
  • Points on your licence leads to higher insurance costs
  • Losing a job

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The facts

  • Drink driving is illegal and puts lives at risk.
  • It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you depends on:
    • your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
    • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
    • what you’ve eaten recently
    • your stress levels at the time
  • So if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.
  • The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost up to £70,00 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in the cost of car insurance, and losing a job.

The law

There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

In Scotland (from 5 December 2014), the legal alcohol limit for drivers is lower at:

  • 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 67 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

The consequences

There are strict penalties if you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • a minimum 12 month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • a hefty fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • an endorsement on your licence for 11 years

However, this list does not reflect the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include:

  • increase in car insurance costs
  • job loss
  • trouble getting in to countries like the USA
  • the shame of having a criminal record
  • loss of independence