2017 is looking to crank the severity of punishments dished out to those that are caught using a mobile phone in the car without any sort of hands free equipment.
Texting, making a call without a hands free kit, checking Facebook and Twitter; these things could net you 6 points on your licence and a hefty £200 fine when the new laws come into regulation in 2017.
The punishment for using a mobile phone is even more severe to new drivers, who will have their licence completely revoked if caught using a mobile phone, meaning that they will have to apply for, and take their driving test again.
The severity of the punishment will literally double in 2017. As it stands now, the penalty for being caught on a mobile phone consists of adding 3 points to your licence and having to pay a £100 fine.
It seems as though the changes were introduced after the RAC’s Report on Motoring for the year 2016 showed the staggering amount of people endangering their own, and others lives by using mobile phones when driving. Indeed, the report showed that within the last 12 months alone, approximately eleven million drivers have admitted to using a mobile phone whilst driving. Furthermore, five million motorists admitted to using the phones camera function to take videos, or pictures whilst at the wheel.
The punishments issued are steep, and intent to halt the growing relaxed attitude to using mobile phones when driving. Indeed, a survey last year found that 20% of people admitted to being happy to check social media whilst stuck in traffic, or at a traffic light (an increase by 6% in relation to 2014).
Perhaps most staggering is the increase of people who find it acceptable to use a mobile phone in general whilst in the car. The report indicates that 14% of people found it totally acceptable to use a phone whilst driving, this is a 100% increase of people who find mobile phone use behind a wheel acceptable in relation to the same study launched in 2014.
Statistics reveal that the predominant age of drivers that commit mobile phone offenses are those aged 17-24. A study the road safety charity Brake stated that within Britain alone, one in four 18-24 year olds crash within two years of passing their driving test, and that 17-24 year olds make up only 1.5% of UK licence holders, yet are involved in 9% of fatal crashes.
Perhaps the only way to increase awareness for the potential threat that using mobile phones can pose whilst behind the wheel is to propose severe punishments like those being introduced in 2017, as it seems that previous efforts have not done enough to stem the ever-growing attitude that it is okay to use your mobile whilst driving.