The Department of Infrastructure’s Road Safety Team and the Isle of Man Constabulary are re-running their joint mobile phone campaign. The aim is to deter the use of hand held mobile phones whilst driving.
Gordon Edwards, Road Safety Manager said:
‘If you cannot divert your calls to voice mail whilst driving, make sure that your Bluetooth hands free device has been enabled. In 2011, being distracted behind the wheel caused 39 road traffic accidents in the Isle of Man. It is important for motorists to remember that it is an offence to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, including texting.’
Some of the newest cars have Bluetooth hands free built into them but if yours doesn’t, hands free kits can be bought as an accessory from around £30, which is a £2470 saving on the maximum fine.
If you haven’t got Bluetooth, the best advice is to divert your phone to voicemail before you start driving. All too often people use the excuse 'I only answered it to say I was driving', this is still breaking the law, if the call is important they’ll leave a message or call back. Even in stationary traffic such as queuing at traffic lights, you’re still committing an offence using a hand-held phone.
Minister for Infrastructure David Cretney MHK said:
'we all see examples on a daily basis of people driving whilst using a mobile phone. Our message here is that this is not a safe thing to do, and we seek the public’s cooperation in that. If they do not, I certainly support the Police enforcement action'.
The Road Safety Team will be running an awareness campaign by way of radio adverts and notice board publicity. Members of the public can download the poster images from the Department’s website to display on their work place notice board.
Inspector Iain MacMillan of the Roads Policing Unit said:
‘Motorists who use mobile phones whilst driving risk causing or being involved in a collision, and we are running an operation to highlight the risks and also report offenders. Don’t risk causing an accident or being prosecuted, make sure you are “hands free” or stop in a safe position if you absolutely have to answer a call.’
If prosecuted for using a mobile phone whilst driving, the maximum penalty is £2,500 and four penalty points on your licence. The Police are working hard to enforce this campaign.