The use of a handheld mobile phone is punishable whether you are making a call, using it on loudspeaker, texting, filming, taking a picture, using the internet and even using the mobile phone as a Sat Nav. The law also applies when the vehicle is stationary in traffic.
In the 2016 report on motoring by the RAC, worryingly almost one third of motorists admit to having used their mobile phone while driving and one fifth believe it is safe to check social media and send text messages while sitting in traffic, despite it being against the law. Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, states: “There is serious risk in the physical distraction of holding a mobile phone while driving. But there is also the risk of the mental distraction every driver faces when trying to do something else other than drive.”
The changes are especially daunting for new drivers. For those who have had their licence less than two years, six points is enough to have a license revoked. If this happens, the driver will have to reapply for a new provisional licence, and pass both the theory and practical test all over again.
This new legislation steers phone usage while driving closer to the reported plan that the Department for Transport (DfT) are considering implementing a new technology that would block phone signal for drivers. The software would make mobiles virtually useless by disabling any function that requires internet access or connection to a telephone network. With over 17,500 people taken to court last year, ministers are to meet mobile companies and car manufacturers this year to discuss the plan.
Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove, sums the whole issue up in one sentence, “We need better education and hard-hitting messages to ensure the next generation know what could happen.