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New drivers could be forced to retake their tests if they are caught using handheld mobile devices

New rules are expected to come in next year regarding the use of mobile devices whilst driving. Currently anyone caught using mobiles at the wheel received three penalty points and a £100 fine.


Under the new system, new drivers could be forced to retake their tests if caught just once and more experienced driver will go to court if they offend twice and will face possible fines of upto £1,000 and at least a six-month driving ban. Government says drivers to face ‘much tougher penalties’ for using handheld mobile devices whilst driving. The new penalties will be linked to the high-profile government-based Think! campaign. The Department for Transport said it expected the changes to take effect in the first half of 2017.

BBC correspondent Richard Westcott states: ‘It has been illegal for years but it is still common to see a driver using a handheld mobile at the wheel. So the government is trying to send out a message, to make illegal phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or not wearing a seat belt. One of the big questions now though, is how will it be enforced.’

What the law currently says

  • It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving.

  • This includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.

  • If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.

  • You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.

  • The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

RAC Survey

Earlier this week, a survey by the RAC suggested nearly a third of UK motorists text, make calls and use apps while at the wheel, with the number having risen since 2014.Of the 1,700 people questioned by the motoring organisation, 14% said they had even taken photos and made films while driving.

Department for Transport figures show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in Britain in 2014, including 21 that were fatal and 84 classed as serious.

The new penalties will be linked to the high-profile government-based Think! campaign. It's difficult to do two things at once. Try the Think! challenge to find out how a phone call distracts you when driving.


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