Tough new penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving

Thursday 17 November 2016

Using a mobile phone whilst driving has been an offence since 2003. The government has now proposed changes to current policy to increase the penalty for anyone who is found to be using a hand-held mobile device when driving.

Busy timetables and an urgency to reach appointments within a timely manner places a lot of pressure on agents. Although occasions such as being stuck in traffic may provide the opportunity to make a quick call or send a short text, using a mobile device, even when stationary, is against the law.

The current Fixed Penalty for drivers caught using their mobile phone whilst driving is a £100 fine and three penalty points. The proposed Fixed Penalty however is set to double, with a £200 fine and six points which could potentially come into force as early as the first half of 2017.

It is also likely that remedial courses will no longer be offered to first-time offenders as an alternative to the Fixed Penalty, as it currently is. There is also the added risk of both vocational and novice drivers potentially having their licences revoked after being caught committing one offence.

In January 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a consultation titled "A consultation on changes to the Fixed Penalty Notice and penalty points for the use of a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving" in which it invited responses from members of the public and organisations interested in road safety.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) stated; "that using a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free, while driving is dangerous. It is also unnecessary. Drivers can switch off their phone and let it take messages, and return messages, make calls or send texts when they have stopped in a safe place."

With an increased police crackdown in the UK and with network provider AT&T’s ‘It Can Wait’ initiative gaining momentum, over 12 million drivers have already taken a pledge to never drive distracted again.

For more information search #itcanwait or view the full UK parliamentary report.