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New laws mean tougher penalties for those caught using phone while driving

02 March, 2017, 19:55 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • BNPS This van driver is smoking with one hand and holding his phone with the other. Drivers continue to flagrantly flout the law by using mobile phones behind the wheel despite tougher legislation due to come

As of today, police are now armed with new legislation to clampdown on drivers who use their mobile phone behind the wheel.

Any offender under the age of 21 who has held a licence for two years or less will automatically lose their licence. Six penalty points are enough to see them barred from the road in the first two years of their motoring career - and they will have to retake their practical and theory tests to get back on the road.

Sergeant Joe Pardey, from the Alliance Roads Policing department, said: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel can have devastating consequences, not only to you and those around you, but other road users".

"Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction times in a similar way to drink-driving, making drivers much more likely to cause deaths and injuries". In an AA poll of over 17,000 British drivers, 51% of 18-24 year olds admitted that they would not switch off their phones before driving.

Breakdown firm the RAC is urging motorists to pledge not to use their phones while driving on its new BePhoneSmart.uk website.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: 'Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving.

This seems to have led to questions from some people on why the laws are tougher on new drivers.

Pete Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC, said: "The Government's swift action to the findings in the RAC Report on Motoring shows they understand just how unsafe it can be to use a handheld mobile phone at the wheel".

"Young drivers in particular think they can get away with playing on their phone but all it takes is for them to not concentrate for a split second and they can be involved in a collision".

Speaking about the penalty changes, Inspector Rich Champion said; "Despite the wide known fact that the use of mobiles whilst driving has been illegal for a number of years now, we still see drivers distracted by phones".

He added: 'Everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving.

The increases, which are double the previous penalties of £100 and three points, come into force as a result of a government consultation with the public.

By noon on Wednesday, Dorset Police said they had stopped 31 drivers on their mobiles.

Officers are being deployed to target motorists who still break the law.

So if you want to keep using your vehicle and avoid a £200 fine, program your sat nav before you set off and wait to reply to that text message until you're safely parked.

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