Drivers face tougher penalties for mobile phone use

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Penalties for drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel are set to become more severe with the number of points on your licence to double from three to six, Fleet News reports.

Newly qualified drivers who have passed their test within the last two years lose their licence if they get six or more penalty points under current legislation.

These tougher penalties mean that a new driver caught using their phone while driving could lose their licence and be forced to retake their test, as well as receiving a £200 fine.

More experienced drivers are only at risk of losing their licence if they get 12 points within a 12-month period, however, if experienced drivers are caught breaking the rules twice, they could be fined up to £1,000 and face a six-month driving ban.

These new penalties are due to be introduced in early 2017 across England, Scotland and Wales.

The news follows the release of the RAC Report on Motoring 2016, which revealed that nearly a third (31%) of motorists admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel -- a figure which has risen sharply from the 8% who made this confession in 2014.

According to the Evening Standard, this change in the law goes further than the government consultation in December 2015, where it was suggested increasing the punishment to four points and a £150 fine.

Department for Transport figures indicate that there were 492 accidents in 2014 where mobile phones were a contributing factor as a driver was impaired or distracted by a device.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commented: "It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but the truth is your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others."

Would you risk lives by using your phone at the wheel?

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