Every single person who is taking driving lessons understands that it’s a huge no-no to use a mobile phone while they are in charge of a vehicle. When you take your driving test, you’ll be possibly quizzed in the rules of the road, and you’ll definitely come against this question in your theory test when your knowledge of road laws is challenged. The law is, in fact, changing. It is now the case that even driving instructors in the passenger seat of the vehicle could now be fined when using their mobile phone.
For normal situations when driving, passengers are not at risk of receiving a fine if they are in the passenger seat on mobile phones. This law applies when a learner is in charge of the vehicle, mainly where driving instructors are concerned.
Being caught on the phone while you are in control of a car for a driver can be a minimum fine of £200.
They’ll also give you 6 points on your licence – not what you want after taking your driving test!
The same consequences apply to passengers in strict situations. If you are a passenger with a learner driver in charge of the car, it’s illegal for you to continue to use your mobile phone.
The learner behind the wheel is not yet fully responsible for the vehicle, and as they haven’t gained their full licence yet, it’s the qualified driver who took them out that takes this responsibility.
During driving lessons, the learner driver works with fully qualified driving instructors to ensure that they are safe on the road and keeping others safe at the same time.
The rules that the learner driver is working with as they practice for their driving test are the same rules that apply to the driving instructor – even if they’re not behind the wheel.
If your vehicle is pulled over, or you are snapped with your driving instructor using their phone while you are in the middle of driving lessons, they’ll face fines and points. They could also lose their instructors licence, which is their career!
Pay Attention, Driving Instructors!
During driving lessons, driving instructors should be paying attention to their learners. The driving test is looming, and any reputable driving instructor wouldn’t choose to look at their mobile phone over paying attention to the learner driver.
It’s a step in the right direction to have a law that prevents learner drivers from feeling any more insecure than they already do while they are driving.
The best practice for driving instructors is to keep mobile phones switched off and away while the driving lesson is in practice. Pupils need to grow confident in their skills and learn how to be a safe driver – they can’t do that if they can’t trust their driving instructors to pay attention.
The law that states that you can be fined as a passenger with their mobile phone in use applies to those who have a learner in the driving seat. If you are a passenger and you are sitting with a driver who is already fully licenced, you won’t be subjected to fines and points.
You can continue to use your mobile phone as long as you’re not a distraction to the driver, which is standard for any passenger. That means no Instagram, no SnapChatting, or funny filters. You must be as careful with a driver who is fully licenced as much as you are with a learner. Encouraging someone to be distracted should be worth a fine, too.
When you are the driver, it goes without saying that mobile phones need to be away while you are driving. If you need to figure out where you’re going, you have to keep your phone on a mobile phone holder with the map on the screen.
You should also pull over somewhere safe if you need to call for help or change the map. It would help if you didn’t keep the phone in sight unless it’s for navigation, as the distraction of a notification popping up can quickly move your eyes from the road.
If your driving instructor is looking at their phone while they are taking you through the practice for your driving test, you are within your right to remind them of the law and ask them to put their phone away – for their benefit as well as yours.
You now know that passengers in the seat next to you need to be as focused on your driving as they are on the road ahead.