Government have confirmed plans to double mobile phone penalties

The Government has confirmed it is planning to double the penalties for drivers who are caught using their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel.

Announced yesterday, the move means that those people found committing the offence will be docked six points and receive a £200 fine. 

Significantly, the increase in penalty points would mean an immediate ban for newly-qualified drivers who have a limit of six points for the first two years after passing the test. 

The move has been welcomed by stakeholders, including the RAC and IAM RoadSmart. 

Also confirmed in the response is that the Department for Transport will launch a THINK! campaign highlight the significant sdangers of using a mobile phone while driving. The campaign will aim to raise awareness of the changes in order to stimulate a change in behaviour that road users are looking for.

IAM RoadSmart has welcomed them move, saying that drivers need to learn that their actions could kill.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Addressing the growing problem of smartphone use whilst driving will require a combination of enforcement and education as well as drivers, passengers, companies and individuals taking more responsibility.

“IAM RoadSmart is disappointed that the government did not support our calls for first time offenders to be sent automatically on a re-education course specifically tailored to mobile phone use and breaking our apparent addiction to being constantly connected. We also want to see car companies, mobile phone makers and social media providers working together to develop technical solutions to hand held mobile phone use in vehicles.”

The RAC are also welcoming the strciter penalties for handheld mobile phone use, and believes the move will send a strong message to drivers.

Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “We welcome stiffer penalties for handheld mobile phone use and believe this will send a very strong message to motorists. "However, we believe this has to be done in conjunction with a heavyweight road safety campaign so we therefore welcome initial proposals for a new THINK! initiative.

The RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016 identified that the problem is at epidemic proportions as almost half (48%) of motorists admitted to using a handheld phone at the wheel to talk, text or use other apps in the last year."