Despite the warning, fines, threats and fatalities, the use of mobile phones whilst driving is on the increase. The invention of the smart phone hasn´t helped, with many people keen to constantly monitor and update their social network profiles, keep up to date with what their friends are doing, and make sure nothing is missed.
From the 1st of March in the UK, drivers using their mobile phone face even tougher fines than before, with a 200 pound fine and 6 points on their licence.
For new drivers the penalties are even tougher. If you´re caught using your mobile whilst driving in the first two-years after passing your test, it´s all over. You immediately lose your licence and face a retest.
Many people, including those who have fallen victim of drivers distracted using their mobile, may well argue that the penalties are still not severe enough. After all, despite mobile phone use fines being amongst the most popular issued, using the mobile is still not considered a problem by some.
In the UK, the awareness of the dangers of using a mobile fall under the “FATAL4”, where inappropriate speed, using mobile phones while driving, not wearing seatbelts and drinking or drug and driving are highlighted as being the four biggest contributors to fatal collisions. Of course, the point really is that the FATAL4 are all within the control of the driver, and so individual responsibility is paramount.
The action of “using a mobile phone” is also seemingly confusing for some, including here in Spain. Just because it is not near your ear, or you are holding in on “speaker” does not constitute safe practice, you are still using your mobile. The same applies to updating social media or using WhatsApp, the actions still cause distractions and are not allowed.
We must also remember that in Spain, the use of Bluetooth earpieces and headsets is also banned whilst driving. The only safe way of using a mobile is by having a true hands-free device in the vehicle, although still can still be a distraction.
Currently, if you´re caught using your mobile phone in Spain you face a 200 euro fine and the loss of 3 points.