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New penalties come into force to stop drivers using mobiles at the wheel

Posted on 1st March 2017

From today, (March 1) any driver caught using their phone for anything at all while at the wheel will be fined £200 and given six points on their licence.

The increased penalties are aimed at slashing the number of motorists who use their phones while driving.

Anyone who is caught will be fined £200 – double the previous amount – and will also have their licence endorsed with six points.

And motorists will no longer have the option to take a driver education course instead of taking the points; they will just automatically receive all six.

That means newly qualified motorists who are in their first two years of driving will have their full licence taken away, putting them back on a provisional.

Drivers who already have points on their licence may also be banned from driving, and will face increased insurance costs when their ban ends.

We’re taking part in a week of action to crack down on motorists who flout the law, and our officers will be using marked and unmarked vehicles on roads across Derbyshire to catch people in the act.

Sergeant Steve Hughes, from our roads policing unit, said: “The doubling of the fine means that anyone who is seen using their phone for whatever purpose will have to pay out £200, which is a significant amount of money.

“But what will cost them significantly more is the six points on their licence. There is no way around this, so if you are stopped, you will be getting all six.

“If that means your licence is revoked then so be it; that’s the risk drivers are taking. If they depend on their vehicle for work, then they could of course lose their job.

“Then when they get their licence back, they will face massively increased insurance premiums.

“All of that, just for the sake of sending a text, calling someone, changing your music track, or anything else.

“Whatever it is, it can wait.”

Using a mobile phone while driving is one of what we call the Fatal Four – along with not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Whether it’s making a call, posting something on Facebook, reading a text, recording yourself on Snapchat, switching track of your music player, or even browsing the web – all of them cause a massive distraction to drivers and are proven to be a major contributor to road traffic collisions.

Sgt Hughes said: “The very real risk that drivers take is that their attention will be off the road, and the consequences of that can be unspeakable.

“There have been several high profile collisions where, tragically, people have been killed because drivers have been using their phones.

“Is it worth taking a life, or killing yourself, when you could just wait until it’s safe to pull over and switch your engine off?

“It is absolutely unacceptable and we will simply not tolerate it in Derbyshire.”

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