The Department for Transport has outlined tougher six-point and £200 penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel
Jimi Beckwith
19 September 2016

Drivers caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel will now be hit with six points on their licence and a £200 fine.

The Government's plans have now moved forward, with laws set to be enforced at the start of 2017

The Department for Transport has been planning a crackdown on the offence for some time now, and previously suggested that a four-point and £150 penalty would deter drivers.

The new penalties are double the previous ones, and the introduction of the tougher legislation comes just days after an RAC survey found a considerable rise in mobile phone use behind the wheel.

Read more about the RAC's findings here

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “we need to take responsibility for our actions and as drink or drug driving has become socially unacceptable, so must using mobile phones at the wheel.

“It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but the truth is your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others.”

Here's why you shouldn't use your mobile phone behind the wheel

In 2014 and 2015, the DfT found that the use of a mobile phone behind the wheel contributed to 43 fatal accidents in 2014 and 2015. The government is also introducing a high-profile Think! campaign to accompany the higher penalties, to raise awareness around the new penalties, and the dangers of committing the offence.

The transport secretary also said that he aims to make using a phone at the wheel “socially unacceptable, like drink driving or not wearing a seatbelt.”

The government formerly planned four-point penalties, read more here

The road safety spokesman for the RAC, Pete Williams, said: “The Government’s swift action to the findings in the RAC Report on Motoring shows they understand just how dangerous it can be to use a handheld mobile phone at the wheel. However, it is just as important that laws are seen to be enforced, and the decline in the numbers of dedicated road traffic police has only heightened the feeling that those who use a handheld phone while driving simply get away with it."

"We hope we will see an immediate change in driver behaviour and an end to anyone using a handheld mobile phone while driving."

The tougher penalties will come into play in the first half of 2017. 

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Comments
13

19 September 2016
This is not harsh enough, there should be a 6 month immediate driving ban and a whole month's wages fine. That will stop people using their phones will driving.
Red Devil

19 September 2016
BigZoot wrote:

This is not harsh enough, there should be a 6 month immediate driving ban and a whole month's wages fine. That will stop people using their phones will driving.

Totally!

No manual - no fun

289

21 September 2016
This is great news, it means most of the school run mums in our area will be off the road in a few months......these, by the way, are the same 'school run mums' who complain about speeding cars in the vicinity of their homes and children, yet speed through everyone else's villages whilst their phone is pressed permanently to their ear or checking Facebook/texting.
Despite considering themselves frightfully posh in their X5's/XC90's/Discoveries they will happily flick the two finger salute if you point this out to them!! Great role models huh? Good riddance to them.

19 September 2016
When you consider the potential consequences of distraction from using hand-held devices, I agree that these increased penalties are not harsh enough.
But the problem is, who is there to enforce the laws? That's one of the reasons why so many people do it now - the risk of getting caught is minimal.

19 September 2016
As has been said, its all very well increasing the penalties (and they should), but whilst people know there is little chance of them getting caught it won't make that much difference. And I think hand-held phones are just part of the problem: The concentration needed to hold a conversation hands-free is considerable, far more than with a passenger, and whilst manafacturers are building in more touchscreens and connectivity the distractions for those that want them are just increasing all the time.

19 September 2016
there will still be phone awareness courses made available to those who qualify. Although I expect the cost of these to go up in line with the fine as they are too good a cash generator. So you could still end up having no points. All a bit of a fudge me thinks. The problem for Gov seems to be, on one hand, their desire to ramp up fines and points along with huge increase in the number of speed cameras and the need to leave a few drivers with a licence so as not to cripple the UK economy. While all this is set against the lowest accident rates on record.

19 September 2016
There's almost levels of common sense needed here. The punishments need to be more widespread for this behaviour. But I don't think hands free is actually that much of a problem if used correctly. You wouldn't have a 40 minute phone conversation from the car - but a 2 min phone call hands free is, to my eyes, manageable. The likes of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are helpful additions in trying to cut away these issues, but I see SO MANY drivers on a daily basis with cars that I know for a fact are Bluetooth enabled, yet choose to hold their phones instead, for texting, phoning, taking selfies.

I've also heard arguments for making cars a 'no phone zone' but this is impractical - are you supposed to leave your phone at home? What if you rely on your phone for satellite navigation? In an emergency? Etc.

It needs to be built into the driving test in some way, similar to how sat navs are being introduced (10 years after they should've been!)...


"Work hard and be nice to people"

19 September 2016
there are enforcement issues, but all it takes is one person to get caught and that story will be all over the news. "Driver caught using mobile phone while driving now has 6 month ban" etc etc. What we need back is the fear factor. If people are made aware of the consequence they will be less likely to run the risk themselves. This will only work if the punishment is severe enough though.
Red Devil

19 September 2016
My wife reckons the police should stamp on the phone in question when a person is caught. good idea?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

19 September 2016
That is a good start and would love to see that happen
Red Devil

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