'Only one circumstance when you can legally hold a phone and drive', says Northamptonshire Police ahead of safety campaign

Using a phone while driving is ALWAYS a potentially deadly distraction, even when it is legal
Using a phone while driving is ALWAYS a potentially deadly distraction, even when it is legal

Motorists in Northamptonshire are being reminded that it is never safe to text, talk or take photos at the wheel.

The county force says that any use of a phone while driving will seriously hamper your concentration and reactions, often with fatal consequences.

It is however still legal in some circumstances for drivers who want to use a mobile phone and risk the consequences:

- Hands-free kits are allowed by law as long as they do not block your view, but they can still be a distraction. If a police officer thinks you are not in proper control of a vehicle because you are distracted, this can also be an offence.

-By law, the only time you can use a hand-held mobile phone while driving is to call 999 in an emergency. Otherwise you must be safely parked with your vehicle’s engine switched off – this does not include being stopped in traffic, or waiting at traffic lights.

-You also must not use a hand-held phone if you are supervising a learner driver.

Drivers can read more about mobile phone offences and penalties here: www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law

The reiteration of the law comes during a week of action in Northamptonshire lasting from today (Monday) until Sunday against drivers who break the law by using a hand-held phone to make calls, send messages, take photos or video, use social media or who otherwise interact with their devices while on the move.

PC Maureen Allsopp-Clarke of the Safer Roads Team said: “Keeping people safer on our roads by targeting the irresponsible few who still think using a phone while driving is acceptable is part and parcel of our daily work.

"But this national week helps us highlight again how dangerous it is and how the repercussions can be life-changing or even fatal."

Using a phone while driving can carry consequences such as increased penalties – six penalty points and a £200 fine - or worse.

PC Allsopp-Clarke said: "Could you afford the knock-on effects of losing your licence, or live with yourself if looking at a text cost someone their life?”

While using a hands-free system to make and receive calls while driving remains legal, it can be a distraction and motorists are encouraged to wait until they reach their destination, or pull over somewhere safe and legal, if they need to make a call.

PC Allsopp-Clarke said: “We know the vast majority of drivers do the safe and right thing and put their phones away completely whenever they are driving.

"Please help us keep everyone safe on the roads by doing the same every time you get behind the wheel.”