by Claire Quinlan
On 1 March last year tough new penalties for mobile phone use were introduced doubling the penalty to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. As a nation we now have some of the highest fines in Europe associated with mobile phone use at the wheel.
Although stats for mobile phone use suggest figures have fallen, an undeterred 26,000 motorists have been caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving in the 12 months that have followed the enforcement of these harsher penalties. That’s at least 156,000 penalty points imposed just for mobile phone use.
According to government statistics, among these are 500 new drivers within their first 2 years of passing their test who have had their licences revoked for using their phone behind the wheel. Statistics based on a targeted check suggest that on average 74% of phone users were male.
Although it seems the penalties for holding and using a mobile phone while driving are a real deterrent and awareness of the associated dangers of using a device behind the wheel has increased it is clear some motorists are still not only putting their own lives at risk, but the lives of others.
National Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham commented on this, stating:
“In the year since the new legislation was introduced, we have started to see changes in driver behaviour as the public begin to understand the impact that driving whilst using a mobile phone can have. However, there are still far too many people underestimating the risk that they take when using their mobile phone at the wheel.”
“It is not just about the penalty points or the fine, it is about putting safety first and keeping your eyes on the road so you don’t risk hurting or killing an innocent person.”
RAC road safety added:
“Regardless of the efforts by government, the police and road safety campaigners, the decision to pick up a handheld phone – or leave it alone – while driving remains a personal choice that each driver makes. While the temptation may be strong, drivers need to really ask themselves what is so important that they must risk their life, and the lives of others, by using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel.”
Let’s take this on and make 2018 a year that we see these stats fall even more. To do our bit, we have put together some quick guidance as to the dos and don’ts of mobile phone use:-
If you have been charged with an offence and need legal advice or representation give us a call today on 0800 046 3066 for a free initial consultation.