The motor industry has hailed the proposed increase in penalties for using a mobile phone or other device while driving.
Since 1 December 2003 it has been illegal to drive in the UK while using a hand held mobile phone. At first the law was largely ignored, leading to debate whether or not the £30 fixed penalty notice was enough of a deterrent.
The CU80 offence for using a hand-held phone currently attracts the same fixed penalty as speeding, three penalty points and a £100 fine.
The Government has announced that it plans to increase the penalty to four points and a £150 fine.
Michael Lloyd, Director at AA Insurance, said the Government is at last catching up with the insurance industry, which has long regarded mobile phone offences as being significantly more serious than speeding.
“Drivers using a hand-held mobile phone are at four times greater risk of having a crash than a driver not using one.”
“While drivers may mistakenly exceed a speed limit, no-one uses a hand-held phone by mistake.”
“It’s a deliberate act that seriously diverts attention from driving, significantly heightening the risk of a crash.” he said.
The law states that it is illegal to ride a motorbike or drive a car while you are using a hand held communication device. Hands free phones may be used, but they are ultimately a distraction and you are still open to a charge of careless driving should a police officer think you are driving poorly while using one.
With specifications of new cars ever increasing the majority of mid spec cars now come with Bluetooth functionality. We strongly advise you make use of this functionality as most systems combine Bluetooth with steering wheel controls meaning minimum disruption to your driving.
If you are in a genuine emergency situation and it would be unsafe for you to stop, there is an exemption in place that allows motorists to call the emergency services on 999 or 112 while driving.
When considering your next vehicle give GWA a call to ensure you stay within the law whilst on the road.