Drivers and the Mobile Phone
A proposal from the government has been announced, that the penalties for being caught using a mobile phone whilst driving should be virtually doubled from their current level.
At the present time, being caught by the police with a hand-set in hand while behind the wheel carries a fine of £100, and three penalty endorsement points on the driving license.
The law applies not only while moving, but also whilst waiting at traffic lights, or sitting in a stationary que, in fact, at any time whilst the engine is running.
The new proposal, should it come into force, would mean a fine of two hundred pounds, and six penalty points, and if a second mobile phone offence occurs within the “life span” of the first six points, a possible six month driving ban will be enforced.
Drivers that have recently passed their tests, on a first offence of mobile phone driving, face not only a fine, but having their license revoked, which means sitting the whole driving test again, after a six month driving ban. Although in some instances, this can be avoided if you use a little known legal trick you can learn about at Patterson Law Help New Drivers Avoid Revocation, one of the leading UK motor Lawyers.
The police already make it their business to check mobile phone records of pretty much all drivers who have been in accidents, and if proof of distraction is shown, then possible prosecution may follow, relative to the seriousness of the accident.
Hands-free phones remain legal, provided the driver doesn’t push buttons on the handset, but on the steering wheel control, but, in an accident situation, or if the driver displays undue care and attention and the police find you were using the hands free at the time, the same penalties as hand held can apply.
A recent RAC survey produced some interesting figures on use and abuse of driving whilst using handheld devices. The number of drivers that deemed it acceptable to use the phone while driving, doubled from 7% in 2014, to a current figure of 14%..
One third of the drivers in the survey admitted hand held phone use at some time, and one fifth admitted to sending an email, text, or a post on social media.
The concept from the government is to change the mind-set of the driving population, and to make using a phone while driving a vehicle as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving.
The problem here is that the highest rate of phone use was found to be in the age group 17 to 24, and as the addictive draw of social media spreads wider and wider, it will harder to put the phone down.