You Can’t Do That When Your Driving…

You Can’t Do That When Your Driving…

USING a mobile phone while driving became an endorsable offence in the UK at the end of February 2007 and GEM Motoring Assist – formerly The Guild of Experienced Motorists – (GEM), that is concerned for the safety of all road users, has issued a useful list of things you can and cannot do while driving a vehicle.

It says that apart from using a phone that is not fitted with a ‘hands free’ device motorists need to remember that they cannot eat or drink while at the wheel. The driver can smoke, but lighting the cigarette while on the move can prove a challenge as if both hands are taken off the steering wheel the driver may not be considered to be in proper control of the vehicle.

Disposing of the cigarette by throwing it out of the open car window is also an offence as it may hit or distract another motorist or motorcyclist. In fact ejecting any rubbish from a vehicle contravenes litter laws.

Most recently GEM has noted that a health and safety inspector was stopped by police in Perthshire, Scotland while shaving as he overtook a line of rush hour traffic at between 60 and 70 mph, setting a particularly bad example as he was late on his journey to deliver a first aid course. He was banned for six months and fined £300 (0).

Chief Executive of GEM, David Williams, points out that fines for using a hand-held mobile can be as much as £1,000 (,900) with an increase to a potential £2,500 (,750) for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches. “You also may not use a hand-held mobile while stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic,” he said. “It is also against the law to use a mobile while supervising a learner.”

“Other offences which are also regularly witnessed are drivers reading maps while driving and women applying make up on the move. Both these activities could lead to substantial fines and penalty points being awarded, said David.

“Although it is not an offence as such, GEM recommends that no one should drive with a dog on the front seat of a car,” said David. “Not only is it a potential distraction but if you have an accident there is a very good chance the pet will be injured or killed as well or it may become protective and frustrate any rescue attempts to help an injured or trapped driver. “Dogs should be secured with a harness or a cage in the rear of the vehicle.”

David said GEM welcomed the fact that three penalty points will be added to the licence of a driver caught using a mobile phone, that is not hands free, while on the move. “All evidence points to the fact that a person on the phone whether hands free or not is much more likely to have an accident and the safest option is to turn the phone off as soon as you enter the car.”

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