The UK government has put forward proposals to target drivers who use hand-held mobile telephones while behind the wheel. If the proposal receives an official endorsement, repeat offenders will pay higher fines and get more penalty points on their licences.
The bid to crack down on mobile using drivers is part of the national Road Safety Plan and will be formally reviewed in the New Year. Drivers convicted of using their mobiles while driving currently get three penalty points. This will increase to four. Drivers of HGVs will be given six penalty points.
The fixed penalty fine for the offence will also rise by £50 to £150. The crackdown is only aimed at those who have previously been convicted of the same offence. The proposal says the majority of first-time offenders will still have the option of taking an educational correction course.
The increased number of penalty points that drivers of heavy goods vehicles could receive is a direct reflection of the amount of damage they could possibly cause. The UK’s transport-secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, commented that driving and using a hand-held telephone is dangerous and puts the lives of other road users at risk.
The transport-secretary continued by saying that the government wanted to send out a message that motorists needed to concentrate on their driving and not their phones. He finished off with the warning that persistent use of phones behind the wheel would eventually lead to a driving ban.
The last increase in fixed penalty fines for using a hand-held device and driving was in 2013. It went up from £60 to £100. Despite this, 2014 saw more than 80 serious accidents on the UK’s roads in which drivers had been using mobile telephones. A quarter of these claimed the lives of at least one person.