Bath School of Motoring and Lanham's Driving School Ltd

Successfully teaching to drive in Bath & surrounding areas for over 45 years

New Mobile Phone Legislation

Written by: Bath School of Motoring

28/10/2016

The Government is preparing to crack down on drivers who use their mobile phones behind the wheel, with a mandatory 6 points and a £200 fine to introduced.  

Transport Secretary is due to make an announcement on the increased penalties this month, after consulting with colleagues.

The move comes after an RAC Foundation study which showed almost a third of motorists admitted to using a hand-held device while driving, compared to just 8% in 2014.  That research prompted campaigns in two major national newspapers.

This new legislation is expected to come into force alongside a new campaign about the danger of mobiles.

RoSPA's road safety manager said; 2Using a mobile phone while driving has been proven to reduce a driver's reaction time and ability to identify hazards, so I welcome these proposed increases to penalties for those using a handheld mobile phone.

"This would mean that younger drivers with less than two years' driving experience will have to retake their test, and would provide a greater deterrent for all.

"However, this will only be effective if people believe that there is a very real risk of being caught, hence the importance of more roads policing to eradicate this dangerous and anti-social activity."

RoSPA, which was involoved in bringing about the legislation which originally banned mobile phones from the roads, would equally like to see the law extended to hands-free phone usage.

In the summer, scientists at the University of Sussex revealed the results os a study which showed drivers using a hands-free phone can get just as distracted as those holding it in their hands.

Their research showed that conversations can cause the driver to visually imagine what they are talking about, meaning they use a part of the brain normally utilised when watching the road.

Those involved in the study, who were distracted by a voice engaging them in conversation, took just under a second longer to respond to events such as pedestrians or oncoming cars on the wrong side of the road.

Nick Lloyd added; "Ideally, when the law was introduced, it would have covered hands-free mobile phones and made them illegal to use. However, the practical issues of enforcing it meant that it was not feasible to do so.

"Although it is very difficult for the police to detect drivers using hands-free phones just by observation, they can see if a person's driving is affected because they are distracted, and for more serious crashes or offences, phone records can be checked."