Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Mobile Phones and Driving - Change to Penalties


THE PENALTY for using a mobile phone at the wheel has doubled, 
and rules have been especially tightened in Oxfordshire.
From today, anyone across the UK caught using a 'handheld device' while driving will face six points on their licence and a £200 fine.
And during an operation on one road in Abingdon this morning, police stopped 11 people who were slapped with the new law.
Drivers were shocked to hear of the new leglislation as officers pulled offenders over in Ock Street, Abingdon during a two-hour window. 
"Our enforcement  shows that we have a strong stance against it and yes the £200 and six points is quite a sting, but you know the dangers of what you're doing and that fixed penalty simply reflects the dangers of driving while using your mobile phone.
"It doesn't matter whether it's social media, phone call, sat nav, whatever other apps you may have on it. If you have it in your hand, you are driving, you are using it, you commit the offence.
"I hope one day we will get to the point where nobody will use their mobile phone while driving, sadly we are, as you have seen this morning, a long way off that." 
Previously the offence incurred three points and a £100 fine.
Any drivers under 21 who have held a licence for two years or less will automatically lose it.

In addition to that, Thames Valley Police has instigated its own new rule for the offence: drivers will not automatically be offered a driving awareness course as an alternative to a fixed penalty notice.
The decision whether to offer the course or slap an offending driver with the fine and points will be left up to individual police officers.
What's more, for the next week, as part of a national crackdown on offenders, no one at all will be offered the drive awareness course in Oxfordshire.
If you are caught using your mobile phone at the wheel in Oxfordshire during the next week, you will automatically get six points and a £200 fine at least.
That is if you are over 21, have been driving for more than two years, and if you don't cause an accident.