Tougher penalties for drivers using phones

New drivers in the United Kingdom will lose their licence if they are caught using their mobile phones within two years of qualifying under tougher driving rules that came into force in the country today.

A fine, penalty points, or the horrific death of three children and their mum?

"The safest option is to switch your phone off before driving".

If this happens the driver will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence, and pass both the theory and practical parts of your test all over again.

"Dorset Police carried out a week-long mobile phone enforcement campaign in January, issuing 91 fixed penalty notices to drivers for using a mobile phone at the wheel". Families have been left mourning the loss of a loved one, all because someone deemed accepting a call or checking social media to be more important than road safety.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "It is unacceptable to use a handheld mobile phone while driving for any objective". Typical responses I receive include that the person feels that they're "good at texting and driving" or that "it will only take a moment", or even flat out getting offended as if I were personally attacking their skills as a driver otherwise.

Can I legally use my phone at the wheel?

The Government has launched a new THINK! advertising campaign to warn drivers of the new penalties and the risks.

How unsafe is using a handheld mobile phone or other device while driving?

Motorists who use their mobile phone while behind the wheel face a new crackdown from today.

In terms of the number of accidents involving distracted drivers, there were a total of 773 collisions between 2011 and 2015 with 55 people killed or seriously injured.

From today, the penalties just got higher. A texting driver's reaction time is 2.8 time greater when compared to a driver who is at the drink-drive limit in England and Wales. "Leave it until you've finished your journey and have stopped driving".

United Kingdom drivers can still use their phones as navigation systems, provided the phone is mounted in a hands-free cradle, but an accident stemming from its use can still leave the driver liable.

If a driver is in their first two years on the road and they get six penalty points, they can have their licence revoked - so this could now be the result of sending a single text message. Hands-free kits are allowed by law, but they could still be an in-car distraction.

  • Arturo Norris