A national campaign by Police has started this week to increase the enforcement on people who use their mobile phones while driving, which comes weeks before the Government introduces stricter penalties for the offence.
Drivers who use their mobile phones while driving will receive six penalty points and a £200 fine from March 1, even if it is their first offence, as the Government seeks to clamp down on dangerous driving.
The current law means that anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving will be dealt with by means of a traffic offence report, with a £100 fine and 3 penalty points. In more serious cases, police officers have powers to prosecute drivers for careless or dangerous driving and drivers may also be asked to provide a breath test.
A national police campaign has now begun today under the hash-tag ‘#itcanwait’, which will run until January 29, with police running targeted operations against drivers on their mobile phones and educational campaigns to warn of its dangers.
From March 1st, drivers who use their mobile phones while driving will receive six penalty points and a £200 fine, even if it is their first offence, as the Government seeks to clamp down on dangerous driving.
The police operations this week include:
• targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders;
• partnership with local authorities and emergency services to deter people from taking the risks;
• innovative digital campaigns to communicate that the risks are more serious than people think;
• community ‘spotters’ to highlight hotspots and repeat offenders to police;
• advising the public about changes to penalties for mobile phone use by driving from 1 March 2017.
Last November 36 police forces across the country took part in another campaign against mobile phone driving offences, stopping 10,012 vehicles and detecting nearly 8,000 mobile phone offences, the highest ever total for a week of enforcement on distraction driving.
“In March 2017 a change of the law will take place to reflect the severity of this offence. Not only will those caught get a £200 fixed penalty fine, but if they are caught twice and accrue 12 points they will automatically appear in court and face a fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban of up to six months.
“One of the biggest changes is that new drivers could face having their licenses revoked after the first offence, and to regain their license must reapply for a provisional licence and may only drive as a learner until they pass further theory and practical tests. This process would run up a bill of over £100 on top of the £200 fine so not only is it dangerous, it’ll be a very expensive mistake to make.”
“There is growing evidence the use of mobile phones is becoming a more common contributory causation factor in many serious collisions. It is the mental distraction more than the physical distraction that causes the problems. I want people to think about the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel and not to put their, or other people’s, lives at risk.
“Although it is currently legal to use hands free kits, this still causes a similar mental distraction to that of a hand held mobile phone and the latest version of the Highway Code, revised in 2007, actively discourages the use of hands free kit.”