Tougher punishments for people using phones while driving

If an officer thinks you are not in proper control of the vehicle, this could also be an offence.

FROM today motorists caught using a phone while driving will face fines up to £200 and six penalty points added to their driving licence.

Acting inspector Douglas Livitt said the penalty for using a mobile phone or hand-held device whilst driving would double from a £100 fine and three penalty points to £200 and six penalty points.

And drivers who have had their licence for less than two years and receive six points will have to resit their test.

The new punishments will come with a hard-hitting advertising campaign.

States police chief Mike Bowron has said previously that the offence, which is known to have been a contributory factor in more than 100 fatal and serious road accidents in the United Kingdom in 2014, should be considered as serious as drink-driving.

The new penalties reflect this and show that using a phone while driving won't be tolerated.

In December the Department for Transport announced it was to consider introducing some form of phone-disabling technology to stop people using their phone behind the wheel.

Around 3,600 motorists were given penalties during a similar initiative last month.

He said: "It sends a strong message that mobile phone use while driving is unacceptable, but increasing the penalties won't work".

Use of a mobile phone behind the wheel will be punished whether you are making a call, using it on loudspeaker, texting, filming, taking a picture or using the internet, and the law applies even when you are sitting stationary in traffic.

The first drivers to lose their licences for using a phone at the wheel were caught today after the penalty was doubled.

The campaign says you are twice as likely to crash text driving as you are drink driving.

"It's not worth risking your and other people's lives - and your livelihood - to use the phone while driving".

The change to the law follows pressure from campaigners after a number of high-profile incidents in recent years where deaths were caused by distracted drivers.

Police will increase distracted-driving patrols over the next week, as well.

Hitting that limit means drivers must retake both the practical and theory portions of the driver's test, which is far more intense than your average USA driving test. 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.

  • Carolyn Briggs