New penalties for using phone while driving

In the modern world being without your phone feels like losing a limb. Throughout the day, we find ourselves looking at that little screen – checking our calendar, updating Facebook, sending an email, reading the news. In fact, a recent study found that, on average, people check their phone 85 times a day. But our dependence on these seemingly harmless devices have proven to be potentially deadly. Despite the risk, large portions of the population are guilty of using their phones from the driver’s seat.

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Recent figures found that in the last four years, almost 240,000 people have been caught driving while distracted. This includes the use of mobile phones while behind the wheel. Despite this startlingly high number, only 284 received a ban as a result. In response to the increasing distraction epidemic, the government have doubled the points and fines for driving while using a mobile phone. This change comes after a lorry driver was jailed for killing a mother and three children while scrolling through music on his phone.

When asked about the changes to the penalties for using phones, Prime Minister Theresa May stated that she hopes to make using phones behind the wheel as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. The proposed increase, it is hoped, will deter people from using their phones.

Why do we feel so compelled to use our phone?

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While the government believe it’s simply due a lack or repercussions. However, psychologists believe this issue is far more complicated. When we get into a car, we no longer disconnect from the outside world. Phones are often our contact point for business or personal life. Even when driving we still feel the need for that connection. Many studies have also pointed towards a lack of understanding the full impact of using phones – even hands-free – while driving. Although it may seem like there’s little difference between having talking on the phone or with a passenger, that is far from the reality. The lack of context for the person on the other end of the phone means they don’t make allowances for pauses in conversation when the road demands fuller concentration. In contrast, passengers will have the context to make the allowances.

How to make the roads safer

The easy solution to decrease the risks caused by phones on the road is simple – don’t use them. Put them on silent, in your bag or pocket, and leave them there. But with phones including an increasing number of functions including music, radio and sat nav, the answer may not be that simple. Luckily, there is a middle ground for in-car phone use. A wide range of Suzuki and Mazda models include features to keep you connected and safe. Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, and Apply CarPlay, to name a few. To find out more about Suzuki contact our showroom in Effingham, Surrey. And for Mazda, contact one of our showrooms in Weybridge, Surrey,¬†Bookham, Surrey or Orpington, Kent.

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