Drivers are being warned not to use their mobile phones at the wheel ahead of a new law coming into force which will double the penalties for the offence.
From 1 March 2017 the Fixed Penalty Notice for using a handheld mobile phone while driving will increase to £200 and 6 points
It’s been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, or while stopped with the engine on, since December 2003.
There is worldwide evidence that using any sort of phone has a considerable effect on accident risk, and while it's not a specific offence, using a hands-free phone can have a major bearing on whether or not you could be found guilty of careless or dangerous driving.
Even if you’re otherwise driving safely:
You could be fined £100 and get three points (£200 and 6 points from 1 March 2017) on your licence.
6 points would mean losing your licence if you're less than two years from passing your test.
Refuse to accept the fixed penalty and you could be taken to court.
If the police think the offence so bad that a fixed penalty isn’t enough you could be taken to court.
Fines in court will almost certainly be larger and disqualification is possible – the maximum fine in a court is £1,000, or £2,500 you were driving a bus or a goods vehicle.
You can make an emergency call to 999 or 112 as long as it’s unsafe or impractical to stop first.
You can use a two-way radio but not any other device that sends or receives data are not.
Information obtained from https://www.theaa.com/driving-advice/legal/mobile-phones