Harsher penalties for using a mobile phone while driving

17 September 2016

Jayne WIlletts

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has spoken out against the totally unacceptable and illegal use of handheld mobile phones while driving, and indicated he would be announcing new sanctions in coming weeks.

Anyone calling, texting or using an app while behind the wheel will face higher on the spot fines and more points on their licence than they do today, with the tougher sanctions expected to take effect in the first half of 2017.

Jayne Willetts, lead for Roads Policing for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the move by the government was a positive one:

“This is a step in the right direction; anything that makes people think twice about using their mobile phones behind the wheel is a good thing. The new penalties are a very clear message that it’s just not an acceptable thing to do.

“People using a mobile phone while driving is one of what police refer to as the Fatal Four, alongside drink/drug driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. However, tackling all these issues will take more than just harsher punishments.”

“Police do actively target people using mobile phones when they are out on duty, but unfortunately, with fewer officers out on the roads, more of these offences are going undetected. Having officers in marked cars out on the roads does act as a deterrent. However, due to the continued budget cuts over the past few years, there has been a very noticeable decline in the number of traffic police.”