Drivers who flout the law by using their mobile phones while behind the wheel could soon face stiffer penalties under plans being drawn up by the Government.
The proposals follow research by the RAC, which found illegal use of phones by drivers is on the increase with almost a third admitting to using a hand-held device compared to 8 per cent in 2014.
The study also revealed that the proportion of drivers who confessed to sending a message or posting on social media rose from 7 per cent to 19 per cent, while 14 per cent owned up to taking photographs or videos.
Under the proposed crackdown, fines for drivers found guilty of using a mobile phone could increase by 50 per cent, jumping from £100 to £150. Another idea is to increase the number of penalty points for offences, rising from 3 to 4 points for car drivers and 3 to 6 points for drivers of large lorries. Drivers who accrue 12 points face disqualification for six months or more.
Using mobile phones while driving: the law
– It is illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices, such as lap tops or tablets.
– The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
– It is also illegal to use a mobile when supervising a learner driver or rider.
– Fines can be much greater and prison becomes almost certain if a death is caused.
– There are very few defences available to those caught using a mobile while driving.
Advice to drivers
The advice from police and motoring organisations is simple: never take the risk of using your mobile while driving.
And while the use of hands-free devices is not in itself illegal, new research has found that they can be just as distracting, leading to calls for a blanket ban.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: “Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.”
How can our Driving Offence Solicitors help?
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