Government to enforce zero-tolerance policy for drivers using mobile phones
First-time offenders could be banned from driving when revised penalties are introduced next year
Drivers caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel could lose their licence under new rules set to be enforced from next year.
The Government’s zero-tolerance regulations will drop the option for offenders to go on a remedial driving course, while the lowest penalty will be six points on their licence – double the current punishment.
The plans, which are on course to be introduced at the start of 2017, will also double fines from £100 to £200.
Ministers are also said to be releasing a consultation on dangerous driving courses before the end of 2016.
While the number of drivers in the UK caught on their phones has decreased by 84% since 2011, Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants the act to become socially unacceptable.
The Government’s new plans were revealed three months after a family of four was tragically killed in a road accident on the A34 after a lorry driver crashed into their car while looking at his mobile phone.
Many of the UK’s leading voices in road safety have since expressed concern for the continued use of phones behind the wheel. Ian Gallagher, the Freight Transport Association (FTA)’s head of driver and vehicle licensing policy, saying “Vocational drivers risk their livelihood as many of our members already have in place a zero-tolerance for employees in breach of these rules.
“These proposed changes should go some way towards making all drivers think about the consequences of their actions.”
Emma Banks, head of corporate communications at UK insurance company Sheilas’ Wheels, said: “Despite the repeated warnings and campaigns on the matter, it seems that motorists continue to take the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ approach by using their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
“These individuals are not only endangering their own lives, but also those of any passengers, fellow motorists and pedestrians.”