August 08, 2006

Mobile phones & driving

Here’s the text of a letter I had published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph towards the end of July:

Seen at the roundabout at the end of the North South Road (Binley Road) – a man at the wheel of a driving instructor’s car, elbow on the window sill jabbering into a mobile phone.
Doesn’t he know that’s illegal? It not only takes a hand away from the steering wheel but also distracts the driver’s attention. It’s as dangerous as drink-driving.
With driving instructors like that, is it any wonder that driving standards are so low?

After publication, a woman rang me and told me of an incident where she saw a motorist using two mobile phones at the same time – one for each hand/ear. He used his elbows for the steering wheel. He was driving a big 4×4 – I expect he thought he’d walk away from any crash.

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  1. Reminds me of my first driving instructor– he was on the phone taking a booking for another pupil whilst I was in a lesson. Driving along in fairly dangerous (icy) conditions effectively on my own when a car skidded directly in front of me. My reaction was fine and textbook, but the instructor panicked and grabbed the wheel, turning our car into a spin as well. Needless to say, I quickly stopped the lessons with him! Not before I had lost my confidence and took a 6 month break in learning to drive though.

    It's not just phones that take attention away, I've always had a thing about people smoking in cars whilst they're driving. I know people have been penalised for eating (for eg a chocolate bar) but surely there's a much bigger problem if a lit cigarette was accidently dropped!

    Driving should be an activity that people concentrate 100% on but this rarely, if ever, happens– between navigating (particularly maps or directions), talking to passengers, eating & drinking, smoking, and mobile phones it's not a surprise that there are lots of easily avoidable accidents.

    08 Aug 2006, 12:23

  2. Jane

    Nature has a way of cleaning out the gene pool, driving while talking on 2 cell phones will help clean it out, hopefully no body else will get hurt.

    11 Sep 2006, 18:00

  3. hopefully no body else will get hurt

    Unfortunately they might.

    After the letter was published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, I was telephoned by a woman who had witnessed a man driving a car with a mobile phone at either ear! He was steering with his elbows. The car was a big 4×4 – so he thought he’d be ok in a crash.

    12 Sep 2006, 09:44

  4. Ken Tomlinson

    Like most consciencious instructors I NEVER take calls on a lesson – it’s illegal as well as dangerous. Don’t just write to the press – take the instructor’s details off the car and contact the DSA ( You’d be doing us all a favour.

    27 Nov 2006, 21:41

  5. louise

    My driving instructor always compared me to other pupils that he had and this really zapped my confidence.
    He also distracted my lessons by taking other bookings over his mobile phone

    22 Jun 2007, 13:20

  6. nicola

    An instructor named Raymond was a very sarcastic man.
    He often took more money from me for an hourly lesson and he never gave me extra time at the end of a lesson.

    22 Jun 2007, 13:24

  7. Gary Campbell

    I never answer the phone whilst on a lesson. It’s illegal and can result in a £60 fine and 3 penelty points. And if you’re unlucky, a damn sight worse than that.

    28 Jun 2007, 20:55

  8. alex

    Durring my driving lessons i believe i was bullied to the point of loosing my confidence completely, i am so angry at his unfrofessional additude. He compaired me to other drivers constently putting me down, he seemed too preocupied with being a intellectual, talking about his degrees in psychology and how that makes him more qualified to teach me. If i did anything wrong he would shoat at me and if i said sorry he would give a sarcastic answer about it being his money to fix his car when “I break it” he taught me i would fail for doing things that i have later learned i would not and he was just trying to save his car expenses; all off this along with alot more. i have now changed my driving instructor and have my test very soon.

    anyway is there anyway of complaing about a independent instructor?

    25 Jul 2007, 13:44

  9. You might try the Driving Standards Agency.

    Although the Approved Driving Instructor Branch (Email: phone: 0115 901 2618) probably won’t be able to help, they might know someone who could.

    I suppose the advantage with going via an established driving school is that school has a reputation to maintain and so will keep their instructors up to scratch. I wonder whether your instructor had lost his job with a school after customer complaints?

    25 Jul 2007, 14:24

  10. alex

    Sounds possible. I just think there should be a way of ensuring a level of professionalism with independant instructors.

    I will definately give that a try

    thank you for your help :)

    25 Jul 2007, 16:39

  11. Phones Limited

    I’ve just been atching a news item on frowned upon things to do whilst driving and been informed that the new Highways code has now added smoking to the ever expanding list of Don’ts.
    Others obviously include mobile phone conversing but again the Highways Code has said that using hands-free devices and Sat Nav systems is also a Don’t.
    usually, these things eventually come into law which means big trouble for bluetooth car kit and headset makers as wel as sat nav manufacturers.

    Just a thought.

    29 Sep 2007, 18:09

  12. Driving Lessons

    I find this really incredible! Since your original post though, have you found the number of ‘offenders’ has reduced? I fear not. I seem to see these selfish idiots all the time.

    17 Jan 2009, 20:46

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