Notice has been served on any driver tempted to use a mobile telephone whilst driving a vehicle.
Two amendments to the law on mobile telephone use while driving come into force on 1st March 2017. The combined effect of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (Penalty Points) (Amendment) Order 2017 and The Fixed Penalty (Amendment) Order 2017 is to increase the penalties available for these offences.
This law change affects the use of hand-held mobile telephones, “or other hand-held interactive communication devices”, while driving.
The fixed penalty for using a mobile telephone behind the wheel up to and including offences on 28th February 2017 is 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.
From 1st March 2017 onwards, the fixed penalty will rise to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine.
The revised fixed penalty regime will be applied equally to drivers of Light and Heavy Goods Vehicles, as well as car drivers.
Those passing a driving test need to be particularly mindful of these changes. For two years after first passing the driving test, a “new driver” must not amass 6 or more penalty points on their driving licence, or their licence could be revoked by the DVLA. It is clear that the new revised fixed penalty for using a mobile telephone could therefore result in having to retake the entire driving test, for just one incident of using a mobile telephone whilst driving.
As for full licence holders and those holding provisional licences, whilst the consequences of one occasion of using your mobile phone is not nearly as severe as that for the new driver, it will still mean waving goodbye to half of the 12 penalty points you can have in any three year period, before facing a disqualification from driving for a minimum of six months.
The advice for motorists is now starker than ever to leave all hand-held devices alone, no matter who is calling or who you need to contact, until your vehicle is safely parked.