Tractor drivers are being reminded that they are not exempt from mobile phone laws while driving on the roads.
The warning comes after Devon and Cornwall roads policing team published a photo of a tractor driver caught using a mobile phone at the wheel near Barnstaple.
— Alliance RPT 📱+🚗=❌ (@RoadPolAlliance) June 4, 2019
The officers tweeted that thanks to the size of the vehicle and lots of glass, it was “rather obvious” the driver was committing an offence.
Tractor drivers may not be familiar with the laws around mobile phone use at the wheel.
The same laws apply to all motorists – anyone caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving on UK roads will see six penalty points added to their licence and a £200 fine.
Research by the Department for Transport UK suggests that you are four times more likely to have a crash if you use a mobile phone while driving.
A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: “Mobile phone use behind the wheel is illegal and highly dangerous. Anything that distracts a driver’s attention from the road, even for a split second, can lead to devastation.
“Using a phone behind the wheel should be as unacceptable as drink driving, with research showing that reaction times whilst texting are double those of drink-drivers.
“We urge everyone to put their phone on silent and out of reach when driving, and those who break the law, putting lives in danger, deserve to be caught and punished accordingly.”
Using a phone while driving – the law
It’s illegal to hold a phone or satnav while driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:
- Bluetooth headset
- Voice command
- Dashboard holder or mat
- Windscreen mount
- Built-in satnav
The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.
You could be taken to court and you may face disqualification on top of a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses and goods vehicles face a maximum fine of £2,500.
Hands-free phones can also be a distraction and you’ll risk prosecution for not having proper control of your vehicle when using one.
You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.
The law still applies to you if you are:
- Stopped at traffic lights
- Queuing in traffic
- Supervising a learner driver
However, you can use a hand-held phone if either of these apply:
- You’re safely parked
- You need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop