After much speculation and debate, the changes to the law around using a mobile phone whilst driving have finally been implemented and were unveiled alongside a new, hard-hitting advertising campaign.
Prior to March 1st, getting caught on your phone at the wheel could land you with three penalty points on your license, and a fine of £100. But as of the 1st, the punishment has now doubled to a £200 fine and six points on your license.
For new drivers, this can mean automatically losing their license, as at least one young driver discovered yesterday, Metro reported. The 19 year old was the first person in the UK to lose their license following the introduction of the new harsher penalties.
Regarding his punishment, the dejected young man is reported to have said “mum’s going to kill me!”
In the UK, for the first two years after passing your driving test, you can only get 6 penalty points before your license is revoked. After 2 years this doubles to 12 penalty points. Before this change, new drivers would have one chance to get caught on their phone before it got serious. Now it is 1 strike and you’re out!
Considering young drivers are statistically some of the most accident prone, this harsher penalty is a good deterrent and will prevent them from developing bad habits which they carry further into their driving career.
New drivers caught will be made to retake their practical and theory. Having points on your license will also push up the price of your insurance premium.
Figures from 2015 – the most recent available – show that 22 people died and 99 were seriously injured in accidents where a driver was using their phone. The true figure is likely to be far higher, as the police often struggle to prove a mobile phone was instrumental is causing an accident.
To help you stay on the right side of the law, we have put together a list of bullet points below:
- It is illegal to use a handheld phone whilst driving, including as a satnav device. This applies even when you are sat in stationary traffic. Unless you are parked up, so long as your engine is running then you cannot touch your mobile.
- Hands free calls are allowed, but you are forbidden from pressing any buttons on your phone in order to make a call
- Phones can only be used in an emergency when dialling 999 or 112, otherwise you must be safely parked
- The punishment for getting caught is a £200 fine and six penalty points on your license
- New motorists who lose their license must reapply for their provisional, and then resit both their theory and practical driving test.
- And you will have to notify your insurer of the loss of points, which could increase your premium. (In the unfortunate event of this happening, we can help you with it).