The British Government is considering double the number of penalty points that are handed out for mobile phone offences. By raising the number of points a recipient gets for talking on the mobile, texting, or using social media on their smartphones while driving, it means that if a person is caught for a second similar offence within three years, they should lose their licence as a result of the totting up procedure. What’s more, new drivers would be forced to retake their test if caught within two years of passing their test.
Under the current rules, drivers that are caught using a mobile phone when they shouldn’t typically receive a maximum of three points on their licence as well as a fine. Recent surveys conducted by the likes of the RAC have shown that an alarmingly small percentage of drivers know that it is still illegal to use a mobile while waiting in traffic if their car is still running.
Also under current rules, any driver that reaches a total of 12 points within a three year period should receive disqualification from driving. It is possible to argue exceptional hardship, but, generally, 12 points means that a person will receive a totting up ban. At the moment, that would require four instances of being caught using a phone while driving.
Under the proposed changes, a driver found guilty of using a mobile phone and in danger of driving without due care and attention, would receive a maximum of six penalty points, rather than three. This is essentially the same as driving without insurance, and there are those that criticise the new changes as being overly harsh. Two such offences would lead to a driver having accumulated 12 points and therefore liable to disqualification.
Using a mobile phone to call is legal as long as the person uses a hands free kit. However, if a car is running, it remains an offence to use the mobile phone for any purpose without a hands-free kit, even when you and your car are sat in traffic waiting to move away.