Six points and £200 fine for using phone while driving
23rd March 2017
On March 1st, new measures were introduced to deter drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. Those now caught using phones while behind the wheel face six points on their licence and a £200 fine, while new drivers who have been on the road for less than two years could even have their licences revoked.
The Department of Transport introduced the laws aiming to deter drivers from texting, making phone calls without a hands-free kit and using social media while driving. This also applies to drivers waiting in traffic. According to the Think! campaign: “It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queueing in traffic.”
Repeat offenders may face even tougher penalties, including being disqualified from driving or a maximum fine of £1,000. Those who operate buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500. Individuals in legal roles should be aware of the full extent of these amendments to the current legislation.
According to the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016, it is estimated that 11 million motorists had admitted to making or receiving a phone call while driving in the 12 months prior to the report while five million said they took photos or videos while driving. The report also revealed that attitudes to using mobile phones behind the wheel had relaxed, with those saying it was acceptable doubling from 7 to 14 per cent.
An article by The Metro reported “scores of drivers” have been handed penalties on the first day of the new law: “By noon on Wednesday, police said they had stopped 31 drivers on their mobiles in Dorset. One of these was a driver of a 7.5 tonne lorry using his phone while travelling around a roundabout in the Bournemouth area.”
According to the article, 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads in 2015 where a motorist using a mobile phone was a contributory factor. It added: “According to the Transport Research Laboratory, reaction times are twice as long for drivers who are texting compared to those who have been drinking.”