New mobile phone laws enforced from 1st March 2017

Wed, 1st March, 2017

New mobile phone laws enforced from 1st March 2017

New legislation coming into force will see drivers caught texting, calling or using an app while driving face a £200 on-the-spot fine and six points on their licence.

This means that new drivers caught using a phone while driving will lose their licence.
While experienced drivers face a ban if they receive 12 points in a three-year period, new drivers have a maximum limit of of six penalty points in the first two years after passing their test.

The AA Charitable Trust have partnered with Think! to launch a new video as part of their campaign to make text driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

This short film has been launched to bring home the similarity in risk between drink-driving and text-driving.
AA President Edmund King says: "Our new ad builds on the success of drink drive campaigns and makes text driving as socially unacceptable as drink driving".

How does texting affect driving?

1. Distraction – driving and using your phone requires you to concentrate on two ‘thinking’ tasks at once, which our brains are not programmed to do effectively
2. Physical impairment – holding your phone leaves only one hand in control of the car
3. Visual impairment – glancing down at your phone means taking your eyes off the road. Even looking away for a couple of seconds means you miss whole stretches of road, which increases your chance of a collision

Dangers of driving while texting include:
  • Failing to spot road signs or traffic lights
  • Failing to notice that the vehicle in front has slowed or stopped
  • Drifting across lanes
  • Failing to spot hazards, pedestrians or cyclists
  • Failing to be aware of stopping distances
AA President Edmund King says that the hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third "may be due to driver inattention from excessive use of mobile phones at the wheel". What's more dangerous – text driving or drink driving?

You're twice as likely to crash text driving as you are drink driving. Yet most of us wouldn’t dream of driving if we were over the limit.

A 2002 study by the Transport Research Laboratory found that certain aspects of driving performance are impaired more by using a phone than by having a blood alcohol level at the legal limit (80mg/100ml). The texting drivers’ reaction time was 2.8 times greater when compared to the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.

Tips for avoiding using your phone while driving

  • Take away temptation – make one simple change to your driving habits and hide the phone away before you leave. The Department of Transport has launched a campaign encouraging drivers to make the glove compartment a phone compartment and always put your phone away before you set off. Commit 100% of your attention to the task in hand – controlling the vehicle
  • If you have a regular compulsion to Tweet, text or check voicemails, plan rest stops enroute where you can check your phone safely with the engine switched off
  • Before you stow it away, let your friends and family know you’re going to be out of touch for a while because you want to focus on your driving. This helps set expectations and minimise those annoying buzzes and pings
  • Do your multi-tasking outside the car. If you need to call someone, call before you leave. Text before you drive, or when you get to a services
  • If you can stomach it, turn your phone off completely, or put it in silent or flight mode so you don’t receive any calls or notifications
  • Prepare a long playlist for the journey, or download an audiobook before you leave
  • Delegate any other DJing, social media updates, navigation or temperature control tasks to a passenger if you have one