Home Need to know New penalties for drivers using a phone while driving

New penalties for drivers using a phone while driving

by Lisa Bennett

New drivers face losing their licence if they use their phones at the wheel under tough measures coming into force today (1 March 2017).

Motorists using a phone while driving will receive 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous 3 points and £100 penalty.

Motorists caught using their mobile twice or accruing 12 points on their licence will face magistrates’ court, being disqualified and fines of up to £1,000. New drivers, within 2 years of passing their test, risk having their licence revoked and lorry or bus drivers can be suspended if caught.

It is not illegal to use hands free, but any time a driver’s attention is not on the road can be dangerous.

The facts

Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.

 

The law

  • It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
  • Using hands free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.