From today, drivers caught using handheld mobile phones are to face “much tougher penalties”, with fines and points doubling.
The new rules mean that drivers who are caught on their mobile will get six points on their licence and face a £200 fine.
The new measures have been introduced in the wake of a number of high-profile cases and research suggesting the practice is widespread.
New drivers can have their licence revoked if they get six penalty points within two years of passing their test, which could now be the result of sending a single text message or making a phone call.
More experienced drivers can lose their licence if they receive 12 points in a three-year period.
The latest figures show 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads in 2015 where a motorist using a mobile was a contributory factor.
Police forces across the country will be taking part in a week’s enforcement from 1 to 7 March. This will see extra patrols and an increased focus on cracking down on people using their phones while driving. About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from 23 to 29 January this year.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.
“Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.
“Everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving – it is as inexcusable as drink driving.”
Here at Car Audio Centre, we couldn’t agree more.
We know that in today’s modern workplace and even socially, we are expected to be “on-call” and available 24/7. Maybe that culture needs to change? Maybe we need to remember that your safety and that of other road users should come first?
However, we also know that sometimes, as is often the case with business or family members, you must take that call but that can be done simply and affordably with our wide range of devices.