Penalty Changes for Mobile Users
Laws have been in place since December 2003 making it illegal for road users to use a hand-held mobile device, but the Government has now said that the fines are set to double.
Under the new changes, the on the spot fine will be increased to £200, and the points received doubled to six. This means that newly qualified drivers – who can only receive six points within their first two years of driving – will face losing their license on their first offence.
Previous penalties included:
- £100 on the spot fine
- Three points on your license
- Should your case go to court you could be disqualified from driving
- You could receive a maximum fine of £1000
A recent study from the RAC highlights a worrying lapse in attitudes regarding mobile phone use whilst driving. The number of people who feel it’s acceptable to use a mobile device has doubled from 7% in 2014 to 14% in 2016.
People who have the opposite view – that it isn’t acceptable to use a mobile device whilst driving – has dropped by 6% from 84% in 2014 to 78% in 2016.
The same study explains that the budget constraints on police forces across the UK has decreased the number of road-patrols, resulting in the rise of mobile phone related accidents, as they simply cannot monitor or enforce any penalties that have been put into place.
The laws may be in place to penalise those who use hand-held devices, but the same cannot be said for those using hands-free devices. However, should you be seen to driving erratically, or if you’re not in full control, you can still be prosecuted for the offence. The penalties will be the same as if you were using a hand-held device.
The best advice we can give is to never use your phone whilst driving. Remember, even if you do park in a safe location to use your phone there’s no guarantee you won’t be fined should an accident occur further down the road.
Your phone records would still show that you made a call, but there’s no evidence showing that you stopped, so you could still be penalised.
What do you think? Are these new penalties going to decrease the number of mobile phone related incidents on the roads? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and you can get in touch by Liking our Facebook page here.
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