£200 Fine and Six Points for Anyone Caught Using Their Phone Behind the Wheel
This week sees the law on driving whilst operating a mobile phone change. From tomorrow, Wednesday 1st March 2017, anyone caught using their mobile phone while driving will face a £200 fine and receive six points on their licence.
Motorists will no longer be offered the chance to go on a driver awareness course in place of receiving points, once this new legislation comes into place.
The new penalties, which the Department for Transport has brought in, will punish drivers for texting and making phone calls without a hands free kit, and for using social media whilst driving.
This new legislation is being put in place after the RAC released its Report on Motoring 2016, which revealed that record numbers of drivers were using their phones on UK roads.
The report estimated that 11 million motorists admitted that they had made or received a phone call in the last 12 months without using a hands free kit. A further five million people had admitted to taking photos or videos whilst driving.
Under the new laws if a person is caught and has only recently passed their driving test, then they will have their license revoked.
These new rules will come into place in England, Scotland and Wales and anyone caught breaking the new law for the second time will potentially face a £1,000 fine and a six month driving ban.
The RAC’s report also shockingly revealed that attitudes were relaxing on the issue. The number of people who said that it was acceptable to use a phone behind the wheel has doubled since 2014, from seven percent to 14 percent.
The number of people who said they were comfortable checking social media when sat in traffic, at the lights or in congestion has also risen. In 2014, 14 percent of the people surveyed said they were OK with this. Now that number is over 20 percent.
Last week on BBC News, a driver who killed a man in a head-on crash whilst using his phone at the wheel, sat down and met his victim’s partner.
Lewis Stratford was arguing with his girlfriend on the phone when his car careered through the central reservation and collided with Gavin Roberts’ vehicle. Both men were rushed to hospital and whilst Stratford survived, Roberts died a few days later.
The moving conversation between Stratford and Roberts’ partner Meg Williamson highlights the dangers of driving whilst on the phone and it can be watched here.