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Using your phone at a petrol station

Created on Thursday 3rd August, 2017.

We have all seen it at some point, happily filling up your car with petrol and a loud voice comes over the tannoy asking a driver to put their mobile phone away immediately!

But do we really know why it is so important not to use our phones whilst filling up? Most scientists fully agree that there is no actual fire hazard at all to using our mobile phones despite the scare stories and myths.

However, this ban is still upheld. It was looked into by the UK Petroleum Industry Association Ltd a little while ago who uploaded a statement onto their website saying:-

“In the past, there had been widespread but unsubstantiated reports circulating globally of mobile phones igniting petrol vapours on petrol filling station forecourts, or other locations where flammable vapours were present.

“As a result, the Energy Institute in conjunction with Intellect, the trade association for IT, Telecoms and Electronics industries in the UK, conducted a study into the risks of ignition of flammable vapours by mobile phones.

“The results of the study were presented at a technical seminar hosted by the EI in March 2003. The main conclusions were that:

“There was no confirmed ignition incidents associated with mobile phones anywhere in the world.

“Mobile phones, although not specifically designed to standards as ‘protected equipment’ pose a negligible ignition risk, and one that is far less than other ignition sources on a fuel forecourt.”

Although this is a detailed study the UKPIA still discourages the use of mobile phones on its forecourts. They state they have two reasons for doing so are distraction and risk of incendive sparking. They also added that “Using mobile phones can create a serious distraction for people dispensing fuel or crossing the forecourt when there are a number of vehicles moving.” Further adding “Mobile phones are not designed and certified for use in explosive atmospheres which exist temporarily around the pump and nozzle during refuelling as well as around the fill and vent pipes during petrol deliveries.”

Although it can be frustrating it is still forbidden by law to use your phone on the forecourt but they state “Generally, there is no need to restrict the use of mobile phones in other areas of the forecourt, such as in the shop, in motor vehicles parked on the forecourt or in other non-hazardous areas.”

Hope this clears up one of those questions that we often ask ourselves!!