DfT to crack down on mobile phone use

Penalty for drivers caught using mobile phones at the wheel will rise to 150 and four points...

26 January 2016

The Department for Transport has opened a consultation on whether it needs to raise the penalty for drivers caught using mobile phones at the wheel to £150 and four penalty points. 

The fine was increased from £60 to £100 in 2013, but there was no significant drop in the number of offenders, so research has concluded that penalty points are more of a deterrant for drivers. 

Under the plan, HGV drivers will face more stringent penalties; the number of points will double from three to six, to reflect the more severe nature of the accidents caused involving HGV-driving offenders.

First-time offenders would still be offered an educational course rather than a fine.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said he wants to see using a phone while driving become a "social taboo, like not wearing a seatbelt".

The Institute of Advanced Motorists welcomed the proposal, with chief executive officer Sarah Sillars arguing "Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously by increasing the fines and points for smartphone and tablet use at the wheel – there is simply no excuse." 

Public consultation of the new penalties concludes on March 15, and the new penalties are set to be put in place in July 2016.