As social media has evolved, so has the incessant temptation for drivers to use their phones while driving, despite it posing a serious risk to their lives and the lives of other road users.
Motorists caught using their phones behind the wheel can receive six points on their licence. This means new drivers, who for the first two years of driving are only liable to six points on their licence, can have their licence revoked, with the only option being to retake their theory and practical test in order to drive in the future.
Although drivers using their phones behind the wheel should be punished, it can be hard to police these incidents. It is only when the police come into contact with these reckless drivers, that fines and penalty points are issued.
Here are the key facts for prosecutions issued to those caught using their phone while driving:
- Since 2003, it has been illegal to use or touch a mobile phone while driving
- In 2007, fixed penalty fees were raised from £30 to £60 and rose again in 2013 to £100
- Under new legislation, which changed in 2017, drivers now face £200 fines if caught using their phone behind the wheel, a deterrent the police hoped would prevent drivers from using their phones while driving
- You can be disqualified from driving if your case is taken to court, as well as receiving a fine of up to £1,000
- Bus drivers and goods vehicle drivers can receive a fine up to £2,500
After fixed penalty notices for using a phone while driving were doubled in 2017, the number of drivers issued with FPNs has fallen by a startling 40%. However, after recent research into police forces across the UK, The AA claims not enough is being done to enforce fines and prosecutions, even warning the police they are failing to enforce the law as often as they should.
The president of the AA, Edmund King, said: “As we mark the one-year anniversary of the introduction of tougher penalties for using a handheld mobile at the wheel, we are pleased to see that drivers are starting to get the message.
“Some of the change can be attributed to targeted awareness campaigns which, together with high profile cases of the serious and even deadly consequences of driver distraction, has begun to encourage drivers to think twice before picking up their phone.
“We do however have concerns about the reduction in traffic officers and fear this may have contributed to the fall in FPNs issued. The number of traffic officers has reduced by a third over the past decade. But in order to clamp down on this offence, we want to see more cops in cars enforcing the laws which exist to keep all of us safe on the road.”