From today, 1st March 2017, drivers face a range of new penalties if caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
The new penalties will see increased fines and penalty points as the government looks to crack down on drivers calling, texting and even recording videos while driving, which according to a study by the RAC, is around 31% of all drivers.*
What are the new penalties?
Drivers in the UK caught using a handheld phone will now face a £200 fine and 6 penalty points, double the previous punishment.
The toughest effect of the new punishments will be on newly qualified drivers who could now lose their licence if they’re caught using a phone.
Drivers who receive 6 penalty points in their first two years of driving can have their licence revoked which means just one driving while using a phone offence could see them lose their driving licence.
In 2015, 22 people were killed while 99 were injured in accidents where a driver was using their phone.
What are the current laws?
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone that’s not hands-free while driving.
- This includes using a phone for calls, texts, to read a map or usual social media.
- You may use your phone as a Sat Nav but it must be in a hands-free holder. If it’s deemed to be distracting, you could face police prosecution.
- It’s also illegal for anyone supervising or instructing a learner driver or motorcycle rider to use a hand-held phone.†
When can I use my phone in a car?
You may only use your hand-held phone in a vehicle if you are safely parked or have to call 999 or 112 in an emergency where it would be unsafe of impractical to stop.§
With the new driving laws coming to into effect, police forces across England, Wales and Scotland are increasing their patrols and will be specifically looking out for drivers using mobile phones until the 7th March.
According to The Guardian, a similar tactic by the police in January saw over 3,000 drivers caught and given penalties.