Police set to enforce punishment for using mobile phones while driving
Police in England and Wales carried out a week-long crackdown on drivers using a mobile phone while driving ahead of Road Safety Week.
The week-long operation included dedicated patrols using unmarked and high seated vehicles to better spot offenders and asking members of the public to report drivers illegally using their mobile phones whilst driving.
What is the current UK law on using mobile phones while driving?
It has been illegal to use a hand-held phone or a similar device since 2003. This includes using your phone to read a text, or check social media or using when drivers have stopped at lights.
It is also illegal to use a mobile phone when supervising a learner driver or rider.
At the moment, the current fine is a £100 and 3 penalty points. The case could also go to court which could mean drivers are disqualified from driving or riding and receive a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could receive a maximum fine of £2,500.
The UK government announced plans earlier this year to double fines and points for those caught using their phones behind the wheel earlier this year as motorists are found to be continuing to use their phone behind the wheel.
Can drivers use hands free devices?
Drivers can use hands-free phones, sat navs and 2-way radios when driving or riding a motorcycle.
However, recent research by the University of Sussex also suggests that having a conversation ‘hands-free’ is equally as distracting as one on a hand-held device.
They found drivers were slower to respond to potential hazards and some even failed to spot hazards while speaking on a hands-free device.
Moreover, if the police believe drivers are distracted and not in control of their vehicle while using hands free devices, drivers could still be stopped and penalised.
Drivers using their mobiles behind the wheel are dangerous
The Department for Transport (DfT) show that a driver impaired or distracted by their mobile phone was a contributing factor in 492 road traffic accidents in the UK in 2014. This included 21 fatal road accidents and 84 serious accidents.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said the week-long crackdown aims “to make ‘driving distracted’ as socially unacceptable as drink driving”.
Road Safety Week
Road safety week, held by Brake, is set to begin on Monday 21st November, which we are proud to support here in Scotland and across the UK.
As part of road safety week and beyond, we would encourage everyone to keep their mobile phones out of reach whilst driving to stop the temptation from checking their phones.
Becoming distracted while you are driving can have very serious consequences, not purely from a fine or penalty point of view, but causing injury to others on the road, and yourself.
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