The Department for Transport has published the results of its consultation that will ultimately lead to a doubling of penalties for drivers using handheld mobile phones.
The consultation, which ran from January to March, set out proposals to increase the fixed penalty for drivers from 3 to 4 points, and for heavy goods vehicle drivers (including large passenger vehicles) from 3 to 6 points. The consultation proposed an increase in the fixed penalty fine from £100 to £150.
Nearly all respondents (94%) supported an increase in the fixed penalty fine, with 94% supporting an increase in points issued.
Following analysis of the consultation responses, the department has decided to raise the fixed penalty points issued under a fixed penalty notice for this offence from 3 to 6 for all drivers, and raise the fixed penalty notice fine from £100 to £200 for all motor vehicles.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, responded: “Addressing the growing problem of smartphone use whilst driving will require a combination of enforcement and education as well as drivers, passengers, companies and individuals taking more responsibility.
“IAM RoadSmart is disappointed that the government did not support our calls for first time offenders to be sent automatically on a re-education course specifically tailored to mobile phone use and breaking our apparent addiction to being constantly connected. We also want to see car companies, mobile phone makers and social media providers working together to develop technical solutions to hand held mobile phone use in vehicles.”