The government says it may double to six the penalty points for drivers who use a mobile phone.
If a driver reaches 12 penalty points they are at risk of disqualification under the totting up system. The new rules would therefore mean a driver could be at risk of a ban after just two mobile phone offences over three years.
Also under the new rules, a newly-qualified driver could be off the road after just one offence. This is because if a new driver receives six points within 2 years of passing their first driving test, the DVLA will automatically revoke their driving licence. The increased penalty could also affect a driver’s insurance premiums.
The change is supported by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, but is not likely at least until after the next election.
The proposal follows research which suggests that texting at the wheel can be more distracting than the effects of drink or drugs. The Transport Research Laboratory found sending a text slows reaction time by 37 per cent. Using cannabis delayed it 21 per cent, and drinking to the legal limit 13 per cent. Speaking on a phone slowed it by 46 per cent.
The government believes that many drivers do not appreciate the risks and dangers associated with mobile phone use whilst driving.
Between May 2012 and August 2013, the number of drivers with points on their licence for using a mobile phone fell by 14 per cent, from 677,500 to 583,700. This is despite a number of recent Police crackdowns.
Fixed penalties for a number of offences were recently increased from £60 to £100. These included using a mobile phone to speak or text whilst driving, as well as speeding.
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