Using your mobile phone while driving is one of the biggest causes of accidents, which is why most motor insurance companies will refuse to pay out if you are found guilty of using your phone behind the wheel. Even if you are not involved in an accident, if you are caught using your phone while driving then you can be fined or even taken to court, and now it has been reported that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has decided to double the fine for those caught texting while driving to £90.
Mr McLoughlin went on to say that there are a large amount of people that use their phones while driving, and that these tougher measures have been brought in to drive down the message that it is dangerous and against the law. However, the amount of points you will receive on you licence will stay at just three, even though lobbyists have called for it to be the tougher penalty of six, especially as reports have recently shown that using your phone while driving can be even more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.
Discussing his plans at a road safety conference in London yesterday, Mr McLoughlin said: “We want to send a clear message to dangerous drivers: If you continue to show complete disregard for the safety of other road users, we will catch you – and we will punish you.” Mr McLoughlin also admitted at the event: “On occasions in the past I’ve used my mobile phone when driving,” however he went on to say that that was during a time where it was more acceptable, much like drink driving used to be, however now he would not do either.
The police and other motoring bodies have supported the stricter rules when it comes to using a phone behind the wheel, with director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister saying: “With both texting and hand-held use of mobile phones at the wheel causing more impairment than being at the drink-drive limit or under the influence of cannabis, the police need to target the large number of motorists continuing to flout the law.” So far over a million people have been fined for using their phones while driving, and in 2010 alone there were 161,096 convictions. Hopefully these new rules will deter more drivers from using their phone behind the wheel, and make the roads safer for drivers across the UK.