Drivers caught using their mobile phone at the wheel will soon receive 6 penalty points and a £200 on the spot fine; doubling the current punishment of 3 points and a £100 fine.
Not only will those caught receive a £200 fine, but if caught twice, accruing 12 penalty points, they will automatically appear in court and face a fine of £1,000 aswell as a minimum six month driving ban.
New drivers face having their licences revoked after the first offence, and in order to regain their licence, they must reapply to the DVLA for a provisional licence and may only drive as a learner until they pass further theory and practical tests.
The Government crackdown comes after a string of fatal accidents, including the death of cyclist Lee Martin in 2015, who was killed by a driver who had previously been caught using his phone at the wheel eight times.
Research carried out by the RAC found that attitudes to mobile phone use behind the wheel have relaxed over the last two years with those who say it is acceptable doubling from 7 per cent in 2014 to 14 per today. The percentage of those happy to check social media in stationary traffic, at lights or in congestion has also increased from 14 per cent to 20 percent.
A third of drivers surveyed admitted they’ve used a mobile for calls, while one in five admitted they’d sent a text, e-mail or posted to social media. Phone use behind the wheel was highest among drivers aged 17 to 24.
The RAC is calling on the Government to invest in a high profile awareness campaign to highlight the danger of using a handheld phone at the wheel and to drive home the message that it simply won’t be tolerated.
The new rules will come into force sometime in the first half of 2017 in England, Scotland and Wales.
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