Getting caught texting while driving could see you landed with a £1,000 fine under new rules set to come in next year.
The UK is set to roll out tougher penalties for drivers who are caught using mobile phones at the wheel, in a bid to reduce the growing number of motorists breaking the law. According to the RAC, nearly a third of UK drivers now text, make calls, and use apps while driving, with half of motorists admitting to taking photos and videos behind the wheel.
The BBC reports that the new rules will see drivers slapped with £200 fines and six points on their licence if caught. And new drivers could be made to retake their test the first time they get caught. For re-offenders, the penalties are even higher: those caught twice face fines of up to £1,000 and a minimum six-month driving ban.
At present, drivers using their phones get three penalty points and a £100 fine – or just £60 if you’re caught in Northern Ireland.
“It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call, or using an app, but the truth is your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others,” said Chris Grayling, UK Transport Secretary. “We all have a part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving. I will be announcing a tougher new penalty regime shortly.”
According to the Department for Transport, at least 492 road accidents in 2014 involved a driver that was distracted by a mobile phone. Speaking to the BBC, AA President Edmund King said:
“This is radical. One text and you’re out. But if we are to change the attitudes of young drivers, maybe it has to be that harsh.”
The new penalties are expected to roll out in the first half of 2017.
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