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We all know that we are not to use our mobile phones whilst driving, it is a huge no, no. In fact if you review the DVLA handbook and the theory practice questions, you will note quite a few questions just on mobile phone usage and driving a car. Some of the questions seem ridiculous, but they are there just the same.

I think all of us know the reasoning behind not using a mobile phone while driving, it distracts you; you are not giving your full time and attention to the matter at hand, which is driving a motor vehicle. Mobile phone usage while driving has been banned in the UK since 2003, and drivers can face such as a £60 fine and three (3) points on your licence, even if using a hands-free set-up if the police think you are distracted.

Let’s digress for a moment, in a funny sort of way.

How many of us have witnessed someone using a mobile phone whilst they were driving? I am sure many of us have. I have witnessed people eating, drinking (soft drinks), and even texting, and putting on make-up! I have read about people being stopped or seen watching DVD’s or TV while they were driving! Amazing.

A study was done in America by Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics where they analysed more than eight (8) million car crashes and fatalities in eight (8) of the 50 United States. The data they examined was before and after 9pm (local time) over a three (3) year period. The results did NOT include texting or Internet browsing. The dates of the study were 2002 – 2005 and the reasoning for the time slot used for the study was that mobile phone carriers offered free calls after 9pm during the week.

Sounds like a very detailed study if I do say so.

The study did show an increase in in calls being made after 9pm, but there was no corresponding increase in the number of car crashes.

Interesting. More mobile calls being made, but no increase in accidents.

However here in the UK according to Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents or RoSPA, “Using a phone at the wheel increases the risk of a crash by four times”.

I’m with Kevin on this one, regardless of what the study in America found.

Having driven in both countries, it is very different in America there than here in the UK. That may explain the reason the numbers fell as they did in the study.


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