DfT begins consultation on increased penalties for drivers using mobile phones

The Department for Transport wants feedback on plans to impose greater punishments on drivers caught using their phones

THE Department for Transport has today begun a public consultation on introducing stricter penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phones.

The DfT wants feedback on its proposals to increase the fine for mobile phone use from £100 to £150 for all drivers.

Alongside increased fines, the DfT also wants feedback on its proposal to increase penalty points from three to four for non-HGV drivers, and three to six points for drivers with a HGV licence who commit the offence while driving a HGV.

It's well-known that some drivers choose to make calls and send messages while driving but a survey last year by the Institute of Advanced Motorists found that 9% of drivers surveyed admitted taking a selfie while driving during the previous month. The figure increases to 19% of 25-35 year olds. The same survey also discovered 8% of drivers admitted to driving while using a video-calling application, rising to 16% among 18 to 24 year olds.

Speaking about the DfT’s consultation, Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research said:

‘Forcing all drivers caught using a hand-held mobile for the first time to attend a re-education course would be a really positive step.

‘For many, smartphone use has become an addiction that we can only start to cure through some form of therapy. The IAM does not object to tougher penalties but we do believe that the real deterrent is fear of being caught. That fear can only be increased by increasing the numbers of traffic police on our roads.’

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