Why me? Why now?

Checking messages at a red light…

Looking at Facebook in traffic…

Picking up your phone for a quick chat…

You see others doing it – and perhaps you do it yourself. It might feel harmless, but so many shocking news headlines show us otherwise.

It’s been illegal to use a handheld phone at the wheel in the UK since 2003. And while the penalties for doing so are now much tougher, could you live with causing a tragic collision because you were distracted by your phone?

Help make the roads safer for all of us – make a promise today to your friends and family you’ll Be Phone Smart.

2210 crashes were caused by drivers using a mobile phone between 2012 and 2016
32 fatal crashes in 2016
23 % admit speaking ilegally on a handheld phone
39 % think it's ok to check social media when in traffic
15 % say new penalties hasn't made them stop

(it takes moments)

How can I be phone smart?

Driving is one of the most mentally demanding things you can do. That’s a fact.

The trouble is it feels like your phone demands your attention too.

Being Phone Smart is about recognising that your phone has a grip on you – and that you’re committed to breaking that hold when you’re driving.

It’s about taking a stand and realising that driving really does require your full attention. By leaving your phone alone you’re keeping everyone on the road safe.

And, it’s also about talking to your friends and family about the issue – telling them you don’t and you won’t use a handheld phone at the wheel, and how you’d love them to make the same promise.

A fear of missing out (FOMO) doesn’t come into it – you’re not missing out, you’re driving.

 

5 steps to become Phone Smart:

  • If you use (or have used in the past) a handheld phone at the wheel, what couldn’t wait until you got out of your vehicle?

  • What are the chances of you missing something that genuinely important while you’re driving?

  • Consider the consequences if you got caught using a handheld phone at the wheel – the embarrassment, the hassle, the points, the fact you might even lose your licence, and the impact that would have on your life.

  • Think how you would feel if you were responsible for causing a crash because your phone had distracted you.

  • If you know, or think, you’re tempted to use a handheld phone at the wheel, put it away. If it’s out of sight, and silenced, you know you can stay focused on the road ahead.

Make your promise now

(it takes moments)

Campaign partners

If we want to bring about a change, it’s going to need all of us to get involved.

“I am pleased to endorse the Be Phone Smart campaign, encouraging motorists to act responsibly behind the wheel. It takes just two minutes to make the Be Phone Smart pledge. I hope many drivers will take the time to make this commitment and help make our roads safer.” – Prime Minister Theresa May

Interested in showing your support? Contact the campaign today!

Here are some of the organisations supporting the RAC’s call for every UK driver to Be Phone Smart:

  • Police Federation
  • Hagerty Classic Car Insurance
  • Think
  • Daily Mirror
  • Lancashire Police
  • RED Driving School
  • Dyfed Powys Police
  • IAM
  • Essex Police
  • Transport Scotland
  • NP
  • Road Safety GB
  • Transport Scotland
  • Humberside Police
  • SHB
  • Camping and Caravanning Club
  • PACTS

Make your promise now

(it takes moments)

Your pledge can help make our roads safer

Make your promise

Great - you've made the first step, and you're ready to make your promise to stop using a handheld phone at the wheel.

Click the button to make a photo promise you can share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - or just make a promise without a pic.

Start your promise

Great - you're ready to make your promise.

I promise to:

  • Never use a handheld phone when driving or while stopped in traffic - it's the law
  • Commit to keeping my focus firmly on the road ahead, for everyone's safety
  • Tell my friends, my family and other people I know I've made the promise - and ask them to do the same

Take photo

Take the photo to use as your promise profile photo. We recommend you take a photo where you have space to the left of your head so you can place the emblem as a promise to not using your phone whilst driving again.

Move the Be Phone Smart emblem so that it fits naturally next to your head. If you took the photo with the emblem already on your phone screen please use the toggle to switch the graphic off.

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Upload your photo

Upload the photo you want to use as your promise profile photo. We recommend you use a photo where you have space to the left of your head so you can place the emblem as a promise to not using your phone whilst driving again.

Using an iPhone? Make sure you shoot landscape - turn your phone to the right.

Move the Be Phone Smart emblem so that it fits naturally next to your head. If you took the photo with the emblem already on your phone screen please use the toggle to switch the graphic off.

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Or select a file to upload

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Your details

Apart from commuting, do you drive for work?

Please keep me updated on RAC motoring and road safety campaigns, including Be Phone Smart. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information about how we use your personal data.

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FAQs

Are there any apps to help make my phone less distracting while I'm driving?

Yes!

If you’re using Android, try a third party app like Agent which can detect when you’re driving and let people trying to contact you know that you’re not available – they get sent an automated text. It can even read out your text messages for you.

The arrival of Apple’s iOS 11 operating system means that iPhone users can switch on a Do Not Disturb While Driving function before they set off. This stops notifications and notifies people who try and contact you that you’ll reply to them later. Combine this with the Family Sharing function (available in Settings), which shares your location with a set list of people, and you have no need to use your phone while driving.

Available for iOS and Android is Google’s crowdsourced sat nav app, Waze. This allows you to share your journey with someone else before you set off, and if you get delayed en route the app tells them – without you needing to feel the need to send a message yourself.

Can't I use a phone at all while driving? What about hands-free?

The law is clear – except in the case needing to call 999 or 112 when it’s not safe or impractical to stop, you must not use a handheld mobile phone while driving. The only legal way to use any phone while driving is to make or receive calls using a properly-installed hands-free kit but you might still be safer to pull over, switch your engine off and then make a call. You can find out more in our full guide on what the law says on mobile phone use at the wheel.

I use my phone as a sat-nav. How can I use that safely?

Firstly, make sure you don’t find it distracting to have a sat-nav showing or talking directions to you. If you do, you’re better off not using it in the first place.

If you do plan on using your phone as a sat nav, then get it fully charged up and set your destination set before you drive off. Set it in a cradle, ideally out of reach and not stuck to the windscreen where it obscures your view. Tell people your ETA before you set off to avoid any temptation to need to update them yourself. Some sat nav apps such as Waze allow you to share your journey with other people so they can track where you are – again, meaning you won’t feel the need to have to contact them.

My phone isn't the only distraction when I'm driving, so why should I focus on this?

You’re right – but your phone is probably one of the biggest distractions. Apart from your phone, think about what else can you do to make your driving environment a calm one. Things like knowing your route to avoid the need to check a map and avoiding long and potentially heated conversations with passengers can really help.

What if I'm in traffic and the engine is off? Can I use my phone then?

Technically, if you are in a queue of traffic and it’s going nowhere you are still in control of that vehicle and could be prosecuted – even if your engine switches off by itself (so-called ‘start-stop technology’). Ask yourself – why do I need to use my phone in the first place anyway? What can’t wait until I’ve finished my journey?

Can I touch the screen on my phone to accept a call, so long as I am using a hands-free kit?

You can, but only as long as you’re retaining full control of the vehicle – so reaching over to the windscreen to take a call and taking your eyes off the road is likely to be seen as you not being in proper control.

A properly installed hands-free kit will have its own ‘answer’ button, or if your car has an in-built kit there is usually a button on the steering wheel.

Where should I position my phone (or sat-nav) in my vehicle?

In a place that doesn’t obscure your view – such as low down on the windscreen (but not directly in front of you). We recommend you use audible sat nav instructions to reduce the need for you to look at a small screen. You might find it preferable to buy a hands-free kit which can be mounted high on the dashboard.