In the UK it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This has been the case since 2003. On 1 March 2017, The Fixed Penalty (Amendment) Order 2017 will come into force. The effect of this will be that anyone who commits a fixed penalty offence under section 41D(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1998 (driving or supervising the driving of a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device, or causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person using such a telephone or other device) will now receive a fine of £200.00, which is double the previous fine.
They will also receive six penalty points instead of three, as a result of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1998 (Penalty Points) (Amendment) Order 2017, which also comes into force on 1 March 2017.
We regularly act for victims of road traffic accidents who have simply horrific injuries. As a campaigning law firm, we see the horrendous effects of road traffic accidents on the lives of our clients on a daily basis. As such, we welcome this change to the law. We hope that this will act as a deterrent to drivers who would otherwise commit offences. We also hope that this will be strictly enforced by Police Scotland, so that potential offenders are aware that they will face consequences should they use a mobile phone while driving.
It does strike us, however, that there are other areas of road traffic law where the Government could be increasing fines and penalty points. For example, most will have seen the shocking and thought provoking television advert which highlights the difference that can be made if a car hits a child at 30mph versus 40mph. That being around an 80% chance of survival versus around an 80% chance of death. Clearly the consequences of exceeding a 30mph speed limit are potentially catastrophic.
We simply ask the question: do offences such as this not warrant as severe a punishment as driving while using a mobile phone?
For further information on Road Traffic Accidents and Mobile Phones click here.