Young and inexperienced drivers are being warned that one mistake could cost them their licence since new rules on mobile phone punishments came into force last week.
The penalties are doubling so, as well as getting a £200 fine if caught using your phone behind the wheel, you will also now be handed six points – which is more than enough for those who have had their licence less than two years to have it revoked.
If this happens you will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both the theory and practical parts of your test all over again.
It can be an expensive and stressful time, so imagine having to go through it again for one moment of stupidity.
We understand how difficult it can be to ignore your mobile phone but there’s not a single reason that will excuse putting people’s lives at risk. Hopefully, these new stricter penalties will mean drivers think twice.
Despite all motorists knowing it is illegal and dangerous, unfortunately far too many people still use a handheld phone behind the wheel.
If we are to stop the needless death and injury this selfish act causes then that needs to change.
This increase in penalties for mobile phone use is a step in the right direction but we also need to work on changing the mindset of motorists before they step into the car with their phone.
Drivers need to understand the devastating impact using their phone for just a couple of seconds can have, not just on those killed or injured but on their family and friends too.
Taking your eyes off the road to check your phone for just two seconds while travelling at 40mph means you will have travelled for around 40 metres, completely blind.
During that time a car ahead could have braked or stopped or a child could have stepped out into the road.
Using hands-free is not safe, with all research clearly showing it does not significantly reduce the risks, because problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of using a phone at the same time as driving.
While the use of hands-free kits is legal, RoSPA advises not even this should be attempted while driving.
Although you won’t be taking your eyes off the road, merely engaging in a conversation will mean your attention is elsewhere and not fully on the road and the environment around you.
And if your driving is affected you could be charged with “not being in proper control of your vehicle”.
Visit www.rospa.com for more information.