is it still good to talk? short

since the introduction of the government's mobile phone legislation, motorists have been forced to think again about how they use their phones in their cars. has the law had an effect?

If it's a crime to use a mobile phone when you're driving a car - and of course it is - then most of us have been guilty of it at some time. The government's legislation however, has forced regular offenders to do something about the way they talk on the move or has it?

The law banning the use of a mobile phone whilst in control of a car is commonsense to most people, yet just a cursory glance at passing traffic will reveal that a significant number of motorists still ignore the rules, putting themselves, passengers and other road users in potential danger. To many, a mobile phone has become an essential part of daily life and the thought of it being turned off and in effect removing them from their network of contacts is unthinkable. Consequently, a ringing phone has to be answered no matter what, even if that means putting their own life in danger. The problem is that many of these miscreants don't see this action as dangerous and consider themselves more than able to use their phone and drive safely all at the same time. The fact that they are also very unlikely to get caught only encourages them further to break the law with impunity.

Basic commonsense rules are:

Keep your phone on voicemail when driving

If you need to make a call, or check your messages, stop and park up in a safe place and switch off your engine first.

If you feel you really must make or receive phone calls, stick to using a hands free kit with a cradle, and keep conversation brief.

Tell the person calling you that you are driving so they understand your need to concentrate

Avoid long complex conversations. Instead tell the person you will call back when you have parked up safely.

Remember it is an offence for employers to encourage motorists to use their mobile phones when driving, so do not feel obliged to answer or make work-related phone calls while driving.

Never stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway to use a mobile phone unless it is an emergency.

In the case of an emergency it is better to use the roadside emergency phones situated along the hard shoulder if possible, as this will make it easier to trace your location and reach you quickly.

If you are an employer and your staff drive for work purposes, you will need to review your risk management procedures to include policy on mobile phone use which reflects the new laws.