Every driver should know the dangers of mobile phone use at the wheel of a vehicle. However, you may not be aware that as of this morning, March 1st 2017, penalty points for mobile phone use behind the wheel have doubled.
Euro Car Parts has partnered with the Department for Transport and their ‘THINK!’ campaign to raise awareness of the changes to the law and how important it is to leave your phone alone whilst driving.
What Has Changed?
Prior to this mornings change in the law, penalty points for mobile phone use whilst in control of a vehicle were; 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. This has now risen to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine.
Though some are arguing that the fine should be significantly higher than this.
How Does This Affect You?
It would appear the new change in the law is aimed at younger drivers, who are far more likely to use their mobile phone whilst driving to answer calls, check social media, emails and messages. A new driver has a maximum limit of 6 penalty points on their drivers license within the first 2 years of passing their practical driving test. This means that anyone now caught using their mobile phone within the first 2 years of driving will be immediately disqualified. Once a new driver has had their license revoked they will have to apply for and retake both the theory and practical driving tests.
Drivers who have held their license for over 2 years have a maximum of 12 penalty points before their license can be revoked. The new change in the law also means that there will no longer be an option of attending a driver awareness course in lieu of receiving penalty points and a fine.
Mobile Phone Use Behind The Wheel
What You Need to Know!
Can you use your phone at traffic lights?
NO. Even whilst stationary it is still classed as driving as you’re still in control of the vehicle. Using your phone in heavy traffic or at the lights is still an offence.
Can you press buttons on your phone to answer/hang up a call on hands-free?
NO. The phone must be secured in a suitable holder out of the 45-degree angle of the driver’s view. You can’t touch it while driving!
Is it OK to answer a call whilst driving if your phone is on loudspeaker resting on your knee?
NO. It is still classed as using a phone whilst driving, whether it is in your hand or not!
Can you use your phone as a Sat Nav?
YES. So long as it has been programmed before you start your journey and is held in a suitable phone holder out of the 45-degree angle of drivers view. You can’t re-programme or touch it whilst driving, the same rules apply to using a sat nav.
What do you do if you need to make or take a call?
The AA suggests that you should ideally pull over, if it is safe to do so, or leave it to go to voicemail. If you have a hands-free unit you should keep conversations short and simple or say that you’ll find a safe and legal spot to stop and phone back.
What exactly is hands-free?
In simple terms a hands-free is a mobile phone accessory that will allow you to answer your phone without touching the phone itself. There is a wide variety of hands-free units available from headsets and units which are built into the car itself.
Using hands-free to answer your phone isn’t an offence. However, you can still be prosecuted if you’re deemed as not being in full control of the vehicle whilst using it.
What if I need to use my phone for work?
If this is the case your employer could be open to prosecution if they:
– Cause or permit you to drive while using a phone or to not have proper control of the vehicle.
– Require you to make or receive calls whilst driving.
– Install a phone in your car that causes you to drive dangerously while using it.
What if it’s an emergency?
You are allowed to make an emergency call to 999 or 112 BUT only if it’s impractical or unsafe to stop.
Do the same rules apply to cyclists?
Whilst it’s not exactly an offence to cycle and use your phone, you could still be prosecuted for careless or dangerous cycling.
For more top tips, consumer advice and product reviews come back to the Euro Car Parts Blog soon. We’ll help to keep you safe with expert advice and opinions, plus new high quality car parts to improve, repair and maintain your car.
For help finding the right parts for your vehicle visit Euro Car Parts online or in store today, click here to locate your nearest branch. With more than 200 locations across the United Kingdom you’re never far from an ECP branch.