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Our emoji road safety campaign uses emojis to raises awareness about the dangers of drink driving, drug driving, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone when driving.

The facts

  • In a crash you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seat belt.
  • Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seat belt-wearing rates, combined with the highest accident rate.
  • People are less likely to use seat belts on short or familiar journeys – putting them at serious risk of injury in a crash.

The law

  • Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seat belts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.
  • Drivers caught without a seat belt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

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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 than if you drink drive, and this increases to 3 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 when driving – including using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.
  • 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 only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked, or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.
  • 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 illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

The consequences

  • points on your licence leads to higher insurance costs
  • losing a job

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In 2015, the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers.

The facts

  • It is now an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood – this includes illegal and medical drugs.
  • The limits set for each drug are different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (for example, through passive smoking).
  • Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.

The law

The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving. If you are convicted you could face:

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

The consequences

The consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include:

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

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The facts

  • 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 between £20,000 – £50,000 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
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