You’ve probably heard that the fine for using your mobile at the wheel has recently increased to £200 and six penalty points. Here we look at the devil in the detail behind the new laws.
Insurance cost increase
I’ve just checked my insurance, and adding a ‘using mobile whilst driving’ conviction increased my premium by £150 – or just over 15%. Remembering that you must declare motoring convictions for five years, so a simple mistake today could affect your premiums for years to come!
The Gov.uk website states: It’s illegal to use your phone while driving or riding a motorcycle unless you have hands-free access, such as:
- a bluetooth headset
- voice command
- a dashboard holder
So, even if you have a dashboard holder and hands-free calling, pressing any buttons on your phone whilst driving, such as selecting ‘Husband’ to call home, is illegal.
All calls must be made through voice command. You must not touch the phone at all!
The law still applies even if you are stopped in traffic or at traffic lights.
Learner and new drivers
This law applies even if you are sitting in the passenger seat supervising a learner driver.
For two years after passing the driving test, the ‘points limit’ before a ban is imposed is only six. So, if you’re caught with your phone behind the wheel, you’ll lose your license.
The use of a hand-held phone is allowed when safely parked, or to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
The law doesn’t stop at six points and £200 – in certain circumstances you could be taken to court where you can face a complete ban, or a maximum fine of £1000.
Honestly, we’re all a bit addicted to our phones. WhatsApp, Facebook, Tinder, BBC News, Twitter etc. – all these apps ping with so many different tones, it’s so hard not to have a glance.
So – the best advice is to put your phone on silent and place it in the glove-box. Remove the temptation.