In the UK, it has now been illegal to use your mobile handset whilst driving since December 2003, but I still see so many drivers every day not heeding the law.
Last week, on a short journey of just a couple of miles, I must have passed at least half a dozen drivers using a handset whilst driving. The point is that the law was introduced to protect other innocent drivers and pedestrians.
Even the best driver in the world cannot have the same level of control and concentration if he or she is holding a mobile phone between the neck and the ear. Try sticking your mobile phone between your jaw and shoulder for the next 5 minutes whilst reading this blog and see if you can maintain 100% concentration.
From this week in the UK (Tuesday 27th February) , the authorities are thankfully clamping down – drivers caught talking on their mobile phone using a handset will be fined £60 and given 3 penalty points.
Why do drivers still continue to flout the law?!
What can be more important than your own safety and that of others?
Drivers are putting lives at risk just to talk to someone about their day at work, what they want for supper or that they are running late. No matter what the “urgent” matter is, it is surely nothing that can not wait till later when they are no longer driving.
A few years ago, a friend of my sister was hit by a motorist whilst she was on the pavement. The driver had lost control whilst driving one handedly whilst he used his mobile. She just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder if this incident still preys on the mind of the driver and if he has sleepless nights after seriously injuring someone through his own carelessness.
The real problem is not so much having to drive with only one hand on the wheel whilst using the mobile, but more the reduced attention to what is happening outside the car. Just remember though that no matter how good a driver you are, the car is under less control and you are putting your life and that of others in jeopardy. Most people nowadays would not dream of driving whilst being drunk and yet you are as just as dangerous a driver when using your handset.
Also, whilst drink driving has now become morally wrong and socially unacceptable, that is not YET the case with mobile phones. So what we need now is people to police themselves, if they think something is morally wrong. Until more and more of us accept the right way of behaving, change will happen very slowly.
I am convinced that no matter what laws are brought in, people and drivers will only change their behaviour if they believe within themselves that it is the wrong thing to do. Granted, sometimes we all need to call someone. Well, the thing to do is to park the car at a convenient place and make your calls. Better still, finish all your calls before you set off.
It is all about Personal Social Responsibility – each one of us taking responsibility for our effect on society and everyone around us.
If everyone blew their horn, every time they spotted a driver using a mobile phone – perhaps they would soon be shamed into giving up.
So next time you are driving and you receive a call on your mobile, or you are tempted to call someone, just remember – “zap your phone”.