01 Mar 2017
From the 1st March 2017 tougher penalties have come into force for persons convicted of using a mobile phone whilst driving. If convicted you can expect a £200 fixed penalty fine and six penalty points.
Using a mobile phone whilst driving was made a specific road traffic offence in 2003.
Previously a fixed penalty of £100 and three penalty points would be endorsed on your license.
Unfortunately under the new powers motorists will no longer be offered the drivers awareness course. The National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme has been removed as an alternative option to prosecution.
With penalties doubling and the removal of training courses this is a tougher stance on motorists who use their mobile phones whilst driving. The changes have been bought about due to a number of recent high profile cases in the media involving fatalities. Surveys have also shown that motorists reaction times and stopping times are likely to be more effected by being distracted by a mobile phone device than whilst driving under the influence of alcohol.
For new drivers a conviction for a first time offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving could lead to the revocation of their license altogether. The accumulation of six points within the probationary period of 2 years would lead to the DVLA revoking the new driver’s license and the individual having to apply for a new license and retake their driving test.
In addition those who have penalty points on their license are at risk of losing their license due to accumulating 12 or more penalty points and a maximum fine of £1000.
Remember you don’t just have to make a telephone call, send a text message/email/whatsapp message to be guilty of the offence. Simply answering a call on loudspeaker or using your phone as a SatNav without it being in a holder may render you on the wrong side of the law. The legislation states that a person is guilty of the offence if they ‘operate’ a mobile device whilst driving and is interpreted by the Court with a broad meaning. Driving also covers waiting at traffic lights, queuing in traffic or simply having your engine ignition on.
Further a person can be prosecuted for more serious offences depending on the level of driving such as careless driving and dangerous driving.
Police forces across the country have highlighted the new tougher powers through a national media campaign, it is highly likely that there will to be a crackdown by Gwent and South Wales police in the coming months.
If you are prosecuted for using a mobile phone whilst driving or any other driving offence we may able to assist. At Harding Evans Solicitors we specialise in motoring offences, the making of exceptional hardship arguments and providing effective advice & representation.
For more infomation please contact us on 01633244233
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