Government to double penalties for drivers using mobile phones
Motorists using their mobile phones will automatically receive six penalty points under fresh government plans to crackdown on phone use at the wheel.
Drivers will also be slapped with a £200 on-the-spot fine, up from £100, if they are caught calling, texting or using an app on their phone.
The Government is preparing to double the penalties 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.
The new regime will take effect in the first half of next year, the Telegraph reported today.
The change will mean newly-qualified drivers, who lose their license if they accrue six points within their first two years, will have their licence revoked after a single offence.
Other motorists will effectively face a two-strike policy: receiving 12 points on your licence means a ban from driving of at least six months.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said on Thursday that using your phone at the wheel was as bad as drink or drug-driving.
“We all have a part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving,” he said, promising to announce “a tougher new penalty regime shortly”.
Department for Transport (DfT) sources pointed out to The Guardian that many of those caught using their phones at the wheel were young or new drivers.
The paper reports that David Cameron’s Cabinet planned a more modest increase in penalties, but Mr Grayling decided a tougher crackdown was appropriate.