It is well established that drivers should pay attention to what they are doing. With respect to mobile phones, penalties for drivers who use their mobile phone while driving doubled on 01 March 2017.
The penalty for a driver caught using their phone has recently increased to six points on their licence and a fine of £200. This news has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association.
Drivers can have their licence revoked if they accrue six points within two years of passing their test. Those caught using their mobile twice, or who accrue 12 points on their licence, will face magistrates’ court, disqualification and fines of up to £1,000
Using a handheld mobile phone is dangerous
- Cognitive distraction – driving while using your phone requires you to concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks at once which our brains are not programmed to do effectively.
- Physical impairment – holding your phone leaves only one hand in control of the steering wheel.
- Visual impairment – when you glance down at your phone you take your eyes off the road ahead. Looking away for just a couple of seconds mean you can miss whole stretches of road which increases your risk of a collision.
Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is against the law
It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving
- In the UK it’s been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, or while stopped with the engine on, since December 2003.
- This includes holding and using your mobile to make a call, look at a text or check social media. It applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving
- You’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.
- For new drivers, if you get 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
Using hands-free devices
- You can use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle.
- Handsfree for calling is permitted when used safely, through technology such as Bluetooth and in-car voice activation.
- Mobile phones may also be connected to car “infotainment” systems – but the driver must not hold the phone at any time while driving.
- A mobile phone can be used for navigation if it is hands-free and should be securely mounted in a cradle.
Ten years imprisonment for texting
A lorry driver (Tomasz Kroker) was jailed for 10 years in October 2016 after ploughing into the back of a car on the A34 in Berkshire, killing a woman and three children. A dashcam revealed that he was texting at the time of the incident.