New penalties for motorists caught using their phone behind the wheel illegally have come into force today (1st March 2017)
Offenders will face a fine of £200, while the number of points has been doubled from three to six points. New drivers could be punished further and lose their licence.
Figures show twenty two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents in 2015 where a motorist using a mobile was a contributing factor.
It’s hoped the new measures will deter motorists who persist in using their phone while driving. According to research by the RAC more than one in four (26%) motorists admit checking texts, emails and social media behind the wheel.
While some may question whether the new laws go far enough and will be enough of a deterrent, car insurance specialist Admiral is reminding motorists the financial penalty won’t end there. Anyone who receives a conviction for using their phone while driving could see their insurance soar by 70%.
Linda Wells, head of underwriting at Admiral, said: “Too many motorists still think it’s socially acceptable to text or call when they’re behind the wheel, but it can be lethal and we fully support the tougher penalties.
“If six points and a £200 fine aren’t enough to put off persistent offenders, perhaps they should also consider how this will impact on their insurance premiums. From our experience people convicted of using their phone while driving are a higher risk of making a claim. As far as Admiral is concerned, motorists who receive a conviction for driving while using their phone could also see their insurance premiums increased by as much as 70%.”
The new penalties are being introduced following a number of high profile accidents caused by motorists using their phone. In October 2016 lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years after killing a woman and three children when he hit their stationary car in Berkshire, while distracted by his phone.