4th March 2017

New penalties for mobile phone use

Hands up who's messaged someone at home to tell them you're stationary in traffic and you'll be late.

Well, that seems to be most of you - congratulations! You could've earn't yourself a hefty new fine for that quick message. New rules, which came into force at the beginning of March, could see you lose your licence if you're caught using your phone behind the wheel.

So, what are the new penalties? They were doubled at beginning of March to six penalty points and a £200 fine. If you are a new driver, that's one that has passed their test within two years of the offence, you're going to lose your license and it's back to the L plates for you.

If you're unlucky enough to be taken to court, things aren't going to get any better - you could be banned from driving and get a maximum fine of £1,000, or £2,500 if you're driving a lorry or bus.

If you're using your phone with the aid of a Bluetooth headset, voice command or a dashboard holder, that's sort of okay, but the police can still pull you over if they think you're not in control due to distraction and you can still be prosocuted!

The only time you can use a hand-held device is if you're safely parked (including switching the engine off) or you need to need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it's unsafe or impractical to stop.

Oh, and another thing - if you're supervising a learner driver, the same rules apply.

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