New Drivers Using Mobile Phones May Lose Licence
Drivers caught using a phone within two years of passing their test will have their licence revoked under new rules in England, Scotland and Wales. Penalties for using a phone at the wheel double from 1 March to six points and a £200 fine. New drivers who get six points or more must retake their practical and theory. More experienced drivers can be banned if they get 12 points in three years.
The tougher punishments come alongside a hard-hitting advertising campaign. In 2015 – the latest year for which figures are available – 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents where a driver was using their phone.
Police forces have begun a seven day crackdown, with extra patrols and an “increased focus” on stopping people using their phones while driving.
About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from 23-29 January, the Department for Transport said.
Adverts aimed at discouraging phone use have been developed by the government’s road safety group Think! and the AA Charitable Trust, and will be shown at cinemas and on billboards, radio and social media.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users. Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.”
Calls to prevent drivers using phones intensified last year in the wake of several high-profile cases and research indicating that it was widespread.
In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who killed a mother and three children while distracted by his phone, was jailed for 10 years.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said too many drivers were addicted to their phones. “We need to break this addiction and the best way is for drivers to go cold turkey – turn off the phone and put it in the glove box.”
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council roads policing lead, said: “We need people to understand that this is not a minor offence that they can get away with.”