Don't get caught out with new mobile phone laws: find out the dos and don'ts
Motorists are being reminded that the punishment for using their phone while driving has now doubled.
New penalties came into effect today, which see the fine double from £100 to £200 - and the number of penalty licence points increase from three to six.
Cumbria Police is highlighting the change in the law, as it means newly-qualified drivers could lose their licence - they only need six points rather than 12 in the first two years after passing their test.
Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson said: “The reason the punishment is doubling nationwide is that everyone is now well aware of the dangers posed by drivers being distracted by their phone whilst driving. The consequences could be fatal.
“Mobile phone use whilst driving is becoming as socially unacceptable as drink-driving and can be just as dangerous.
“Our officers are on the roads and looking for drivers putting people’s lives at risk by using their phone whilst driving.
“But we also need to change people’s behaviour so that they would never even consider using a phone whilst behind the wheel.
"The public can help by having frank conversations with friends and family about the dangers and the financial and legal consequences.”
Using your mobile phone while driving or sat in the car with the engine running has been illegal since December 2003.
Ch Insp Wilkinson continued: “The changes will mean a newly-qualified driver caught using their mobile phone in the first two years after passing their test will lose their licence.
“It simply isn’t worth it. If the call is important, pull over, take the key out of the ignition and find a safe place to make the call.
“There is no excuse for phone use whilst driving.”
Mobile phone dos and don'ts
- do not use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving or riding a motorcycle
- do not use your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media
- do not use your phone even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic
- it’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider
- you can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
- police can stop you if they think you are not in control because you are distracted - this includes using devices like asat nav or car radio
The county's crime commissioner Peter McCall said: “I don’t think the message could be any clearer or simpler: Don’t use your mobile phone while driving.
“It is dangerous, socially unacceptable and could cost you your licence. It could also cost you much more than the £200 fine, it could cost you your life, worse still the lives of others, no phone call or text is worth the risk."