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Enforcement of ban on using phones whilst driving

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According to Beeb picking up your phone whilst driving will soon be illegal.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54578607

Great - but will there actually be anyone enforcing it?  I ride past dozens and dozens of people a day who are stopped at lights and browsing their phones.  I ride past a handful who are merrily driving along with the phone held up in front of them horizontally chatting away on speaker, and usually one or two white vans that are navigating a junction, changing gear, steering and still have the phone clamped to their ear.

If the situation is serious enough to warrant a change of the law why does there seem to be no will at all to police it?  I suppose it's possible my city does have loads of police working on this and I just never see them, if so it is not proving anything of a deterrent.

Is the answer for us to strap on our cameras and start reporting people a la Cycling Mikey https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm6g2GP912ku4lPd-155-Vw - this guy generated 767 penalty points and almost £50,000 in fines in 2019.

Or does that show that in the short term, until the end goal of making this behaviour unacceptable, officials recruited and trained to do this would pay for themselves?

Sorry Saturday morning rant, nice to get it out at the start of the weekend : )

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 veteye 09:22 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

I must say that I was suprised by the news, as I am sure that on a speed awareness course, it was said that just handling your telephone was deemed an offence.

On the other side of things, I have, both whilst in my car, and on my bike, been affected by people on bikes. These people have been on their mobile 'phone whilst cycling, and not fully aware, putting themselves at risk, as well as me on my bike. 

Likewise, there are those who wear ear phones, and listen to music, in this way, whilst driving and cycling, and both of these groups are less aware of traffic, and objects around them. Again they are a danger to themselves, and others around them. They often pose a road hazard.

(I am not against speaker generated music, but earphones, which obstruct hearing far more, are the issue).

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 Meddins 09:27 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

While out running the amount of times a driver has nearly taken me out due to being on phone is relentless... now I never run on country roads as its got worse.

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 Hooo 09:52 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

I'm all in favour of this, but agree that without enforcement it's pretty pointless. Like the lane-hogging law, loads of people still do it, has anyone ever been convicted?

I don't understand the issue with using a phone when stopped though. Why should this be illegal?

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 ianstevens 10:37 Sat
In reply to veteye:

The classic “but cyclists” argument. Everyone breaks road laws, regardless of their mechanism of transport. All should be enforced, but unfortunately as highlighted, there is limited capacity/willing to do so. The difference between cyclists and cars breaking the law is that only one group is in charge of 1000+ kg metal box. If you crash a bike, 99 times out of 100 you hurt yourself and nobody else. Maybe you add a small dent to a car, or even crack a windscreen. In contrast, cars kill people.

(before I get labelled as a mad cyclist, I drive more than I cycle)

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In reply to veteye:

"...> On the other side of things, I have, both whilst in my car, and on my bike, been affected by people on bikes. These people have been on their mobile 'phone whilst cycling, and not fully aware, putting themselves at risk, as well as me on my bike. ..."

How is this "The other side of things"? Just because one person acts irresponsibly doesn't make it right for others to do so.

You are just as likely to be hit by someone using their mobile while driving or walking as you are when cycling. The only difference is that if you are in a car you are protected by a massive box of steel with airbags and other safety features.

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 Ciro 11:48 Sat
In reply to veteye:

> (I am not against speaker generated music, but earphones, which obstruct hearing far more, are the issue).

I have a friend who is deaf, which obstructs hearing far more than earphones. He seems to be able to drive quite safely. Would he be considered an "issue" in your eyes?

I often ride my road bike with with headphones on, either with low level music for entertainment, or using Google maps for audio directions (which saves needing a handlebar mount and, I find, quite pleasant to ride along with glancing down all the time, and just be told when to turn)

I've never found it to be an impediment to my road awareness, and I certainly hear a lot more through them at a reasonable volume, then I used to hear when my youthful desire for loud music was expressed through 6x9 parcel shelf speakers and a bass tube in the car.

Besides, if you're over reliant on your ears for road awareness, it's going to become increasingly dangerous to ride a bike as we switch to electric vehicles. Electric cars at 30 mph are effectively silent if they are coming up behind you and you have the wind in your ears.

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In reply to veteye:

> I must say that I was suprised by the news, as I am sure that on a speed awareness course, it was said that just handling your telephone was deemed an offence.

There was a court case last year where someone successfully appealed against his conviction for using a phone to film the aftermath of an accident.  The High Court agreed that the act of filming did not count as interactive communication.  The law needs to catch up with the reality that phones are now used for much more than telephone calls.

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In reply to Hooo:

> I don't understand the issue with using a phone when stopped though. Why should this be illegal?

Stopped and pulled over - no problem.  Stopped whilst waiting for lights/queuing - it reduces your situational awareness dramatically and you are far more likely to fluff something else up because you weren't paying attention (e.g. see out of the corner of your eye the brake lights come off in the vehicle in front and move forward, not taking account of the pedestrian who has just crossed the road between you and the car in front of you who you).  It also means that the phone is just by you ready to be used, making it far more tempting, rather than away somewhere inaccesible.

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 timjones 12:48 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

> Stopped and pulled over - no problem.  Stopped whilst waiting for lights/queuing - it reduces your situational awareness dramatically and you are far more likely to fluff something else up because you weren't paying attention (e.g. see out of the corner of your eye the brake lights come off in the vehicle in front and move forward, not taking account of the pedestrian who has just crossed the road between you and the car in front of you who you).  It also means that the phone is just by you ready to be used, making it far more tempting, rather than away somewhere inaccesible.

I'd suggest that if a driver is that incompetent then checking the sat nav on a phone whilst stopped at the lights is the least of the risks involved in their journeys.

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 Hooo 14:03 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

I still don't see why being stopped at traffic lights is any worse than being stopped at the side of the road, as long as you are driving competently. If you're stopped, you need to properly check before moving, it makes no difference where you're stopped. If someone is pulling away at lights without paying attention then that is the problem, not the thing they were doing while they were stopped.

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 veteye 14:41 Sat
In reply to Ciro:

Most likely your deaf friend is more aware than most, because he or she knows that sounds will not be there to add to his car driving, whereas those with ear phones will be more likely to be distracted than he or she.

At times I turn my car or van radio off for improved concentration. I feel that ear phones are a greater impediment to concentration, than the vehicle speakers.

I have never had the sort of speakers in my car such as you cite in your earlier life, and I do not condone such a set up at that sort of volume.

Yes, you may be right about electric cars, and their noise may be increasingly changed as they evolve.

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 veteye 14:46 Sat
In reply to ianstevens:

You did NOT read my post fully and properly. I have had this happen to me when I ALSO was on my bike. So the reference to cars in that instance is irrelevant.

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 SAF 14:46 Sat
In reply to Bobling:

Whenever I've attended an rtc the police are very quick to confiscate phones as evidence, this has been going on for years, obviously now they will have more ways to form a prosecution. If they can demonstrate that they phone has been in use via data, time marks on sites etc they will prosecute.  

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 veteye 14:59 Sat
In reply to gethin_allen:

Partly the other side of things was as I had expressed surprise about the law not being as I thought that it had been. Partly, the method of controlling a bike is very different than driving a car. It is more akin to riding a motorbike of course, and you need to have more awareness in some parameters. (Hence the name of the "life-saver" head movement on the motorbike).

> Just because one person acts irresponsibly doesn't make it right for others to do so.

I don't think that I was implying not to have the law make driving with use of phone illegal. I was saying that people should not be cycling, especially in busy areas, whilst using their mobile phone, as  a separate issue. Both sets of people are culpable in my book.

> You are just as likely to be hit by someone using their mobile while driving or walking as you are when cycling. The only difference is that if you are in a car you are protected by a massive box of steel with airbags and other safety features.

I tend to see more cyclists when I am cycling, than when I am a pedestrian, but even in the latter category, I have had some close shaves on the pavement with mobile-using cyclists. (Remember there have been severe accidents caused by cyclists hitting pedestrians, due to their inattention (though I agree that there was the cyclist who collided with the pedestrian last year, due to the inattention of the pedestrian).

Post edited at 15:00
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 ianstevens 15:21 Sat
In reply to veteye:

> You did NOT read my post fully and properly. I have had this happen to me when I ALSO was on my bike. So the reference to cars in that instance is irrelevant.

Errrm, I did thanks. Less of the condescending chat please. Your post mentions that using the phone in the car is illegal, then goes on to exclusively explain how you have been affected by people on bikes. The OP is about using phones whilst driving cars (vans, lorries etc.) Your mode of transport here is somewhat irrelevant. The law in question is about motorised veichle users. Rather than focussing on that, you go off on a rant about people using their phone whilst cycling. Hence my "but cyclists" comment. 

Nobody should be using a phone whilst driving or cycling. However, my latter point was related to the lack of enforcement. If there is only capacity to partially enforce the law, surely we should focus on those with potential to cause the most harm, i.e. those in motor vehicles? 

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In reply to ianstevens:

The OP is about whether there will be a will to proactively enforce this law, outside of the post-accident circumstances SAF describes, or whether any fellow UKCers feel the desire to become road justice vigilantes ; )

But hey that went by the by pretty quickly haha.

Where's off-duty?  Would be interesting to hear their thoughts!

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 veteye 16:17 Sat
In reply to ianstevens:

Again you mention me talking about cycling only, when in fact I talked about both driving and cycling. ("you go off on a rant about people using their phone whilst cycling"- no rant. Nothing solely about cyclists).

>"but cyclists" comment

"whilst in my car, and on my bike" -my comment.

I did not say "but cyclists"; and did not focus only on them. That was you using your preformed ideas to jump to a certain response.

I then introduced concerns about ear phones, which have a similar distracting influence at times, which is a similar matter to the problem with road users using mobile phones, and sometimes are used with mobile phones. 

Essentially, I was adding that other road users using mobile phones are dangerous, as well as drivers of four wheeled vehicles.

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 Ciro 17:15 Sat
In reply to veteye:

> Most likely your deaf friend is more aware than most, because he or she knows that sounds will not be there to add to his car driving, whereas those with ear phones will be more likely to be distracted than he or she.

When you're listening to the stereo (or earphones) at full blast, you know that the external sound will not be there.

> At times I turn my car or van radio off for improved concentration. I feel that ear phones are a greater impediment to concentration, than the vehicle speakers.

Perhaps you're more sensitive to sound and more easily distracted by it than most? I'd say the biggest distractions in cars are mobile phones, kids and pets... Listening to the radio would surely be well below these on the list?

> I have never had the sort of speakers in my car such as you cite in your earlier life, and I do not condone such a set up at that sort of volume.

With the experience of age I'd say it's pretty antisocial in a built up area (and probably going to give you tinitis like me!) but I wouldn't say it's a safety issue.

> Yes, you may be right about electric cars, and their noise may be increasingly changed as they evolve.

I actually thought them a bit dangerous at first, and wondered if they should be made to be noisy, but as they become more prevalent our awareness of them evolves so there's no need - and cutting noise pollution will be a great benefit of the electric shift.

When you know there's going to be electric cars around, you just ride like you've got headphones on - relying on sight more and sound less. You should be doing your life savers anyway, but it's easy to get lax if you think you can hear what's coming up behind you. Electric cars just mean you have to be vigilant when changing road position.

The only thing you miss out on is the indication of a driver's mental state that the sound of an engine can clue you in on. But that's not a safety issue with the vehicle, that's a problem of getting arsehole drivers off the road.

Post edited at 17:17
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