Motorists to face tougher penalties for using mobile phone whilst driving

Motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving will automatically receive six points on their licence instead of the current three and on-the-spot fines will double from £100 to £200.

For newly qualified drivers, who are currently able to accumulate a maximum of six points during their first two years on the road, could immediately lose their licence and be forced to retake their test.

These tougher sanctions are being brought in due to the mounting concern about a lack of prosecutions and convictions, and a blatant failure of drivers to take the offence of using a mobile phone while driving seriously.

Chris Grayling (The minister for transport), said the use of mobiles at the wheel was as socially unacceptable as drink or drug-driving.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving,” said Grayling, promising to announce “a tougher new penalty regime shortly”.

Following a number of high-profile cases including the death of cyclist, Lee Martin, 48, in 2015, who was killed by a driver who had eight previous convictions for using his phone at the wheel and as such Chris Grayling decided a tougher crackdown was appropriate.

Recently, a lorry driver who killed an off-duty police officer by crashing into oncoming traffic moments after opening a text message on his phone was jailed for six years.

In another case, a driver who was talking on her phone hands-free was spared jail after she killed a two-year-old. She was looking for a parking space while talking and thought she hit a trolley, Harrow crown court was told.

And a driver who earlier this year caused a fatal pile-up on the M1 while distracted by her phone has been jailed for five years.

The DfT is hoping that the new sanctions will act as a strong deterrent to drivers.

Not only will those caught get a £200 on-the-spot fine, but if they are caught twice and accrue 12 points they will automatically appear in court and face a fine of £1,000 and a driving ban of at least six months.

New drivers face having their licences revoked after the first offence, and to regain their licence must reapply for a provisional licence and may only drive as a learner until they pass further theory and practical tests. 

Post date: 01 Nov 2016

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