Mobiles 2022

Hands on the wheel? Hands off your phone.

THINK! has launched a new campaign to reduce handheld phone use amongst young drivers and coincide with a strengthening of the law around mobile phone use behind the wheel.

From 25 March 2022, it will be illegal to use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel for virtually any use, including to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

If you use a handheld phone behind the wheel, you can get a fine of up to £1,000, 6 points on your licence, and a driving ban.

The new campaign ‘Guardian Mates’ includes a series of short films and a radio ad which use the power of influence and respect between mates to help drivers tackle the temptation to pick up their phone. The campaign aims to get drivers to confront their behaviour by making mates present in the issue, unexpectedly appearing in the backseat of the car to intervene and stop them picking up the phone while driving.

These films will run across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as online video and paid video on demand.

THINK! has a core audience of 17 to 24-year-old male drivers, who are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than male drivers aged 25 or over. However, this campaign also includes female drivers of the same age as research shows that both young male and female drivers have similar attitudes and behaviours towards mobile phone use. They also have less awareness of the law and penalties than older age groups.

The strengthening of the law applies to the use of handheld mobile phones. There is an exemption that allows contactless payments such as those at a drive-thru so long as the vehicle is stationary. A device can also be used handsfree while driving if secured in a cradle, allowing sat nav use. Drivers must however always take responsibility for their driving and can still be charged with an offence if the police find them not to be in proper control of their vehicle.

Follow @THINKgovuk on Twitter to discover and share more content from our campaign throughout March and April.

To download any of the videos below, select your chosen video, which will bring up the video player. Click on the ‘Vimeo’ logo in the bottom right of the video player and head to our Vimeo page, where you can download directly.

The THINK! team welcomes any support you can provide in sharing the message with your audiences. For further information, including suggested post copy, download our campaign toolkit from the ‘Get this’ section below.

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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