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Adam Jolley

Double penalties for motorists using mobiles

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The government has introduced tougher penalties for drivers caught using their phone behind the wheel.

Driver using phone behind the wheelMotorists found using their mobile while driving will receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine under new measures that came into force on 1 March.

This is up from three points and a £100 fine.

Meanwhile, drivers within two years of passing their test risk having their licence revoked.

And repeat offenders also face fines of up to £1,000 and possible court action.

‘Do not get distracted’

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. 

“It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.”

To coincide with the new measures, the government has launched a new THINK! campaign warning drivers of the new penalties and the dangers of using mobiles while driving.

Police crackdown

Police forces across the country will also be taking part in a week’s enforcement from 1 to 7 March. 

This will see extra patrols and an increased focus on cracking down on people using their phones while driving. 

About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week in January this year.

£200 fine ‘woefully inadequate’

The tougher penalties have generally been welcomed, but some road safety charities, such as Brake, feel the measures don’t go far enough.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “The increase in points is very welcome. 

“However, when you realise that you can be fined £1,000 for not having a TV licence, then the £200 fine for illegally using a mobile looks woefully inadequate.”

A study by Brake has highlighted the dangers of using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

It found drivers who use phones, either hands-free or hand-held, are four times more likely to be in a crash resulting in injuries than drivers not distracted.

Surveys also suggest drivers aged 18 to 35 are the age group most likely to read a text message and respond when behind the wheel.

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