Full implications of mobile phone penalty doubling
- Losing your licence could cost you your job and livelihood
- Penalty points substantially increase insurance costs for several years
- Employers have a duty of care relating to staff behaviour
- Click here for the full details
MANY drivers were still unaware of this week’s mobile phone penalty doubling for using a hand-held device while in charge of a vehicle – even though it can bring disqualification.
For inexperienced young drivers it will be just moment of stupidity and they are back on public transport.
On Wednesday March 1 the fixed penalty doubled to six points and £200 fine following a catalogue of road tragedies caused by drivers using a phone.
Yet a survey of 1,500 drivers by Co-op Insurance prior to the change showed that, while one in three admitted to using their phone at the wheel, 39% were unaware of the new penalties – and over half said they didn’t think the cost of being caught would be a deterrent.
The more severe new penalty raises the risk of disqualification under totting up (maximum 12 points in three years) for any driver with existing points, such as for speeding.
And it means that any driver caught within two years of passing their test loses their licence and has to resit their driving tests because of the novice drivers’ six point limit. HGV drivers have the same limit.
The same fixed penalty fine and points also applies to anyone supervising a learner driver.
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for RoSPA, said: “Taking your theory and practical driving tests can be an expensive and stressful time, so imagine having to go through it all again for one moment of stupidity.
“We understand how difficult it can be to ignore your mobile phone, but there’s not a single reason that will excuse putting people’s lives at risk, and hopefully these new stricter penalties will mean drivers think twice.”
In 2015, 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents where phone use was a contributing factor.
Last summer five people died as a result of two accidents caused by drivers using mobile phones on the A34 between Oxford and Newbury.
Lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, 30, was jailed for ten years after he pleaded guilty to killing a mother and three children in an eight-vehicle crash between Chieveley and West Ilsley on 10 August. Reading Crown Court heard he was distracted by using a mobile phone.
This week Lewis Stratford, 24, will be sentenced at the same court, on Friday, March 3, for the fatal crash he caused last June 11 while arguing with his girlfriend on the phone. BMW driver Gavin Roberts, 28, died after Stratford’s car crossed the central reservation in Oxfordshire.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “It is unacceptable to use a handheld mobile phone while driving for any purpose.”
A hard-hitting Think! campaign launched when the tough new penalties come into force tol not only highlight the dangers of using a phone at the wheel but also the increase in penalties.
The website does point out that it is not just hand-held mobiles that present a road danger, saying: “The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted. This includes if you’re using devices like your sat nav or car radio.”
And Jayne Willetts, lead for roads policing for the Police Federation of England and Wales, while welcoming the new penalties, says all mobile phone use should be banned, including hands-free.