Zero Tolerance to Drivers Using Mobile Phones

Out of those, 11 people died.

And the driver of a Ford Ka is caught using his mobile phone which he is holding with his right hand directly in front of him, blocking his view of the road ahead.

The increases, which are double the previous penalties of £100 and three points, come into force as a result of a government consultation with the public.

New drivers (within two years of passing their test) could have their licence taken away, while lorry and bus drivers could also be suspended.

To coincide with the changes, police forces across the country have also launched a further week long crackdown on drivers using mobiles.

Officers will use their discretion as to whether, in exceptional circumstances, a course is appropriate.

Anyone found calling, texting or using an app while driving will face a £200 on-the-spot fine and six points on their licence.

A year ago in Britain, drivers distracted by their phone were a contributory factor in 440 accidents, including 22 which were fatal, Government figures showed.

Eleven people died and 195 people were injured.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said increasing fixed penalties will be a "strong deterrent". Court fines could be up to £1,000, or £2,500 for bus and goods vehicle drivers.

Will tougher penalties change driver behaviour?

"All too often, my officers are faced with the devastation caused by motorists who persist on ignoring the dangers and drive while using their handheld phone".

"Inattention and distraction are as big an issue to road safety as speed, seatbelt use and drink or drug driving". In an AA poll of over 17,000 British drivers, 51% of 18-24 year olds admitted that they would not switch off their phones before driving.

It was travelling at 50mph when it crashed into stationary traffic, killing Tracey Houghton, aged 45, her sons, Josh and Ethan, aged 13 and 11, and her partner's 11-year-old daughter Aimee Goldsmith. Handheld use at red lights and other routine stops while the engine is running is also illegal.

Kroker pleaded guilty to four counts of causing death by unsafe driving and one count of causing serious injury by risky driving.

The new penalties are backed by motoring and road safety organisations across the United Kingdom, including the AA, which is running a campaign to make driving while using mobiles as socially unacceptable as drink driving using a film that will appear across cinemas in the United Kingdom from 3 March.

  • Carolyn Briggs