As it stands if you’re caught using your mobile phone whilst driving those found guilty will be slapped with an £100 fine along with receiving three penalty points on your driver’s licence, as a means of deterring people from committing the crime.
However under new plans those who continue to flout the law will be hit with increased fines and penalty points on their licences which of course will mean a hike in motor insurance policies when it comes to renewal time.
Aiming to make using a phone at the wheel to be seen as much of a social taboo as neglecting to wear a seat belt in the car, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is forging ahead with his legislative measures which for its next phase will be put to a public consultation early next year; and which subsequently should see the new rulings and revisions cemented in law in the foreseeable.
McLoughlin’s more hard-line approach and tactics come in response to the release of recent statistics which confirm that some 500 road traffic accidents recorded in 2014 were said to have been caused by driver’s frequenting hand-held phones; which equated to the highest volume since records began in this specific arena.
To make matters worse the ramping up of figures also comes to light in the aftermath of the original legal banning of mobile phone use by the driver coming into force. Any new legislative adoptions will form part and parcel of the government’s new (and broader) road safety plan, which is due to be published just before Christmas 2015, and speaking to www.telegraph.co.uk on the very subject of cracking down still further on repeat phone offenders, McLoughlin said:
Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. We will take action to tackle this persistent problem, with an emphasis on the most serious offenders.
The message is clear: keep your hands on the wheel, not your phone. If you keep taking calls while at the wheel, you could end up being banned from the road.
Knock-on effects of using mobile while driving might put motor insurance premiums beyond reach of many
None of the stats relating to mobile phone use while driving makes for good reading as you might expect, with the worst example quoting that there have been 205 fatalities accounted for here in the UK (citing driver’s using hand-held phones as culpable) during the past decade.
According to the government’s official records, in 2005 there were 306 accidents (including 13 fatalities) in which phone use was found to be a contributory factor, a figure which has since risen to last year’s total of 492 (with 21 fatalities).
Under the new laws yet to be passed and ratified, first time offenders will be expected to undertake an educational course as part of their punishment, whereas repeat offenders will receive four points added to their driver’s licence and fines upped from the current £100 to £150.
Drivers of HGVs will come off even worse, as to reflect the potentially more dire consequences of their actions, they’ll be handed 6 points.
So where does all this stand you in regard to your car insurance policies? Not good, as one thing which never changes is the underlying fact that the more penalty points you possess on your driver’s licence, the more you will be quoted for annual premiums when it comes to renewal time or indeed, attempting to set up a policy with a new provider who will naturally determine licence status before offering would-be policyholders a plan.
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It’s also worth remembering that should you tot up 12 points on your licence within a 3 year period then the chances are you’ll lose your licence. What’s more, any points accrued remain on a driving record for 4 years, so you will probably pay extra each year until this period has expired irrespective of driving bans. As a general rule of thumb motorists with 6 points (which are held over 3 years) would likely witness their premiums increase in the region of 9%, whereas those who were handed the points within the last 3 years would observe 14% premium price hikes on average.
Should they have 6 points (and gained within the past 2 years) then a 24% ramping up of quotes would generally take effect (9 penalty points in the same passage of time would equal a 47% rise) according to insurance industry experts. All the more reason to heed the existing law of the land and take stock of new interventions forthcoming.