You will hopefully have heard the news today about mobile phone usage whilst driving.
Were you aware that it has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving or even stopped with the engine on since December 2003? It seems some people aren’t aware as our seeming obsession with “being in touch” has become an epidemic and we can’t just seem to put our phones down, even when we are driving.
Below is an overview on what you could face, if you are caught using your phone:
- It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving or riding a motorbike. This includes using your phone to follow directions, read a text or check social media. This also applies if you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
- You can only use a hand-held phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
- If you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding, you will get six penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Having points on your licence will result in paying higher insurance.
- If you get just six points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence and will have to re-sit your driving or riding test.
- Using hands-free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.
A sobering thought is that last year 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in road accidents where drivers were using a mobile phone in the UK.
Pete Williams, the RAC road safety spokesman says: “The use of hand-held mobile phones is at epidemic proportions and sadly the attitudes of many drivers have relaxed towards this illegal and dangerous activity. The new tougher penalties will therefore be welcomed by law-abiding motorists as a better deterrent.”