Tougher penalties for motorists using mobiles: what you need to know
Motorists using a phone while driving will receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine – up from the previous three points and £100 penalty.
Drivers caught using their mobile twice or accruing 12 points on their licence will face magistrates’ court, disqualification and fines of up to £1,000.
New drivers, within two years of passing their test, risk having their licence revoked and lorry or bus drivers can be suspended if caught.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.
“Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.”
Police forces will be taking part in a week long enforcement until 7 March, which will see extra patrols and an increased focus on cracking down on people using their phones while driving.
Around 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week in January.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “Too many drivers are addicted to their phones. Half of young drivers can’t bear to turn them off in the car. If they don’t switch off their phones they could lose their licence with the new six penalty points.”
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Our latest report on motoring highlighted that the use of handheld mobile phones is at epidemic proportions and sadly the attitudes of many drivers have relaxed towards this illegal and dangerous activity. The new tougher penalties will therefore be welcomed by law-abiding motorists as a better deterrent.”