Tougher penalties coming for those who use a mobile phone at the wheel

Last Updated: 19/09/2016

Drivers in Britain will receive more penalty points and a larger fine next year if they are caught illegally using their mobile phone while driving.

Stephen Goldasz

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The government is set to introduce tougher sanctions for drivers who get caught using their phone while behind the wheel. The changes, set to be enforced during the first half of 2017, include increasing penalty points from three to six and the fine given from £100 to £200.

These new set of rules will apply to any driver seen making a phone call without a hands-free kit, texting or using their phone to check social media. If the offending person has only recently passed their driving test, they could be forced to retake it to get their licence back.

In Britain, a driving licence is revoked if the holder receives 12 or more penalty points within three years. But if the driver has less than two years’ experience, they’ll lose their licence if they receive six or more penalty points.

A recent survey by Brake quizzed 1,000 25-34 year olds and saw around half admit to sending or reading text messages at least once a week while driving. The new and stricter punishments for those who use a phone behind the wheel no doubt comes in response to recent surveys like this, as well as recent collisions connected to this specific offence.

In Northern Ireland, drivers are currently given three penalty points and a £60 fine if they are caught using their phone behind the wheel. While the changes for next year are not currently planned for this specific area, the local Department for Infrastructure has said they “will continue to monitor changes being made in Britain to see what can be learned”.

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