Law on Mobile Use at The Wheel Tightens Up

The law has changed on mobile use at the wheel. Now you have to place the phone in a cradle and make sure you are using Sat Nav to avoid a potential 6 points on your licence. All you TikTokkers should note that it’s now illegal to make your 140mph GTA videos at the wheel, in your hired supercar, covered on your aunty’s insurance for the day. Here’s some reaction from the RAC;

On the day drivers face six penalty points and a £200 fine if they are caught using a handheld phone at the wheel for virtually any reason after a loophole in the law was closed, new RAC research shows four-in-10 (43%) aren’t aware of the changes being introduced and just 2% believe it will be very effective in improving driver behaviour.

Before today, a loophole existed where drivers might only receive a maximum of three penalty points and a £100 fine for using a handheld phone for actions that didn’t involve any form of telecommunication – for instance, for scrolling through music playlists or taking a photo or video. In November 2021, the Government confirmed that the law would be toughened to ensure almost any use of a handheld phone would be punishable with six points and a £200 fine.

While most of the 2,000 drivers surveyed by the RAC (75%) are fully supportive of the change in the law, many are sceptical as to how effective it will be in getting offending drivers to change their behaviour and make the roads safer. Just 2% of drivers said they thought it will be ‘very effective’, with 49% thinking it would be ‘partly effective’ and a similar proportion – 45% – saying it won’t be effective.

Of those who have concerns the roads won’t be made safer by the changes that come in today, 86% say that it’s because some drivers will always persist in using a phone illegally regardless of the law, while seven-in-10 (70%) say the problem is drivers don’t feel they’re likely to get caught in the first place. Nearly three-in-10 (28%) fear not enough will be done to let drivers know about the changes.

WE ACTUALLY NEED MORE POLICE ON PATROL – WHO KNEW?

When it comes to what drivers think needs to be done to reduce the number of people using a handheld phone illegally at the wheel, drivers are split. Almost equal proportions believe that more visible police enforcement (23%), a high-profile advertising campaign (24%) and even tougher laws (26%) – such as the threat of a driver losing their licence altogether if caught. A fifth meanwhile (20%) would like to see cameras used to catch drivers acting illegally.

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis:

“It’s clear that most drivers are supportive of the law being strengthened to make it easier to prosecute drivers who put lives at risk by using a handheld phone – after all, using a phone to take a photo or look at a playlist is at least as distracting as using it to talk or text.

“But while we welcome today’s law change and very much hope it will make a difference, it’s arguable that it will only be truly effective if it’s rigorously enforced. If some drivers still don’t feel they’re likely to be caught, then simply making the law tougher isn’t going to have the desired effect of making our roads safer. That explains why such a tiny proportion of drivers – just 2% – think the new changes will be very effective in changing behaviour.

Previous research for the RAC Report on Motoring found that more than one-in-10 younger drivers admitted to taking a photo or video while driving, while 6% said they had played a game on a handheld phone while at the wheel.

About alastair walker 9648 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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