New driving punishments for mobile phone users
Since December 2003, laws have been in place that makes it illegal for road users to use a hand-held mobile device. However, recently the Government has increased the fines for drivers caught whilst behind the wheel.
You may think that the law only applies to people who use their mobile phone to call or text, but it also applies to even touching your phone whilst the engine is running and you’re behind the steering wheel, even if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
Research undertaken by Leasing Options has shown that these recent changes are likely to decrease the number of incidents by up to 91%. The survey asked 1,000 drivers whether they would be less likely to use their mobile phone whilst driving.
Under the new law changes, the on the spot fine has now doubled to £200 and the points adding onto your license has also doubled to six. As a result of these changes, new drivers that are caught behind the wheel within their first two years will automatically lose their license.
In the past, penalties have included:
- A £100, on the spot fine
- Driver will receive three points on their license
- The drive will be disqualified if the case ends up in court
- You could receive a maximum fine of £1000. The maximum fine for buses or goods vehicles is £2,500
The same laws still apply even if you’re following a sat-nav on a mobile device. If you do have to use the map app, then you need to ensure that your mobile phone is attached to the windscreen or dashboard. For example, this is what taxi drivers and private hire cabs do whilst working.
It’s not just driving with a mobile phone that can land you in trouble with the law. Here are a few of the lesser-known things you could be penalised for whilst driving:
- Driving with a dirty number plate that covers your registration – £1000 fine
- Hogging the middle lane on a motorway – £100 fine
- Transferring your vehicles’ tax disc when it’s sold – £1,000 fine
- Flashing your headlights unnecessarily (i.e. to warn other drivers of speed traps) – £30 fine
- Eating at the wheel – £1,000 fine and 3 points on your license
The best advice that we can give you is to not use your mobile phone at all whilst driving. If you do have to use it for directions, then attach it to your screen and make sure you have a clear view of the road.
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, or on following us on Twitter here.