Since Wednesday 1 March 2017, new legislation came into effect that means motorists who are caught using a mobile whilst driving will now receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine, doubling the previous punishment.
It is hoped that the tougher penalties will act as a deterrent and encourage people to think before they pick up a phone whilst driving.
Whether it’s looking at a text or a new social media post, streaming a video behind the wheel, checking emails or making a phone call, all of these activities are dangerous.
It diverts attention away from the road and increases the chances of being involved in a road collision, putting not only the driver but others at risk with potentially devastating consequences.
The message is clear and simple - don’t use you mobile phone when driving.
Why is using a handheld mobile dangerous?
- Cognitive distraction –driving while using your phone requires you to concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks at once which our brains are not programmed to do effectively.
- Physical impairment –holding your phone leaves only one hand in control of the steering wheel.
- Visual impairment –when you glance down at your phone you take your eyes off the road ahead. Looking away for just a couple of seconds mean you can miss whole stretches of road which increases your risk of a collision.
Understanding the law
It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving:
- This includes holding and using your mobile to make a call, look at a text or check social media. It applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving:
- You’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.
- For new drivers, if you get 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
Using hands-free devices:
- You can use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle.
- Hands free for calling is permitted when used safely, through technology such as Bluetooth and in-car voice activation.
- Mobile phones may also be connected to car “infotainment” systems –but the driver must not hold the phone at any time while driving.
- A mobile phone can be used for navigation if it is hands free and should be securely mounted in a cradle.