In Your Defence Ltd – Daily defending motorists

Drivers caught using mobile phones whilst driving are to face ‘tougher penalties’. Fines and points are expected to double. Probably due to the high level of fatalities involving mobile phone use and driving.

The new rules (expected to come into force this year), will mean that drivers will get six points on their licence and face a minimum £200 fine.

Coupled with this, newly qualified drivers may have to retake their test if they are caught.

These new rules, which apply to England and Wales could also see experienced drivers going to court if they re-offend. This means repeat offenders face potential fines of up to £1,000 and a minimum six-month driving ban.

The penalties increase from three penalty points and a £100 fine. Accompanied by a high-profile government – ‘Think! Campaign’, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers attached to using a mobile phone whilst driving.

This would be the first ‘Think! Campaign’ about this issue since 2012.

The 2012 campaign covered issues such as:

- Kill the conversation if you know they are driving.

- Switch off before you drive off.

- Doing 2 things at once whilst driving can cause fatal distraction.

- Don’t text and drive

The previous campaign involved a multimedia campaign using TV, online, radio and press activity during a 4-week campaign period.

Brake is a road safety charity who estimate that in 2015, out of 1,469 fatal crashes in Britain that resulted in one or more deaths, the police recorded 400 incidents of the contributory factor of “failure to look”. A further 101 incidents of the contributory factors of driver in-vehicle distractions, distractions outside the vehicle and phone use.

This rise in the level of fatalities has driven the Governments ‘harder stance’ on this matter.

The Department for Transport said it expected the changes to take effect in the first half of this year.