The popularity of social media has had a significant increase on our mobile phone usage and this is noticeable with increased number of road traffic offences and serious accidents occurring in the UK. Motorists often forget about the dangers that they pose while being distracted by their mobile phones and that they are a significant threat to themselves and others.
Mobile phone use while driving has been illegal since December 2003. However, the UK government has issued new harsher laws in order to tackle this problem in order to make it as socially unacceptable as drink driving. New laws on using mobile phones whilst driving came into effect on 1 March 2017. The important details that you must be aware of are:
- Under the old rules, the penalty for using a phone whilst driving was £100. It has now been doubled to £200.
- The points penalty have also doubled, from three to six points on the driver’s licence.
- These changes will affect new drivers who passed their driving test less than 2 years of the offence as they will have their licences automatically revoked.
- If a driver is caught twice and accumulates the maximum 12-points limit, the driver will automatically appear in court and face a penalty fine of £1,000 and a driving ban of at least 6 months.
It is important to bear in mind that the law applies as long as the engine of the vehicle is on. You are not allowed to use your phone while stopped in traffic, at the traffic lights or when parked and your engine is on. There is still some confusion on the usage of hands-free devices or using your phone as a navigation device whilst in a vehicle. While it is permitted to use your phone as satellite navigation, it has to be placed in a holder which is out of 45-degree angle of the driver’s view. You also cannot touch the navigation device to reprogram it whilst the engine is on. The hands-free devices are also permissible, however you cannot touch the device to answer or end the call.
One may wonder if the law on mobile phone usage changed could it potentially affect our ability to eat or smoke whilst driving? There is no such law prohibiting you from eating or smoking, however you must remember to use common sense as you still may be prosecuted if it is proven that these actions distracted you and that you were not in complete control of the vehicle which lead you to driving carelessly.
These changes to the law will no doubt act as a deterrent and will make us all drivers more aware of their behaviour whilst driving. Your safety and safety on others on the road are paramount. A call, text message or Facebook update will now have to wait until you reach your destination.
If you need advice on road traffic offences, contact us online or speak to one of our dedicated litigation lawyers on 0207 998 7777 for a free initial consultation. With our vast experience in the field, our team will work with you to ensure this process runs as smooth as possible. All information you provide us with is treated with the utmost confidentiality.
We will contact you no later than the next working day to arrange a meeting at our offices in London W1 to advise on the agreement.