As of 1st March 2017, the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving became a lot more severe. So severe, in fact, that it's now worth considering locking your mobile phone in the glove compartment so there's absolutely no temptation. The tougher penalties will hopefully reduce the number of car accidents on our roads and save lives at the same time.
From March 1st, the penalty points assessed for using a mobile phone while driving increased to six; the fine increased to £200. But there is more to consider. The law also stipulates:
Drivers booked for using their phones within two years of passing their test will have their licences revoked.
New drivers accruing six points or more will be required to retake both the theory and practical tests.
Accruing 12 points in three years can result in a driving ban regardless of how much experience a driver has.
It is clear that the government is no longer going to tolerate distracted driving, especially as it pertains to using mobile phones. In addition to the stiffer penalties, police forces are gearing up for more aggressive enforcement efforts. This is even more reason for driver licence checks that can tell fleet operators whether a potential employee has already had a problem with distracted driving.
What Fleet Operators Can Do
Fleet operators have a vested interest in making sure their drivers are not caught using mobile phones while driving. Not only would their drivers suffer for their violations, but they would too. Therefore, it's imperative that fleet operators hammer home the tougher penalties and remind drivers of enforcement efforts.
Real-time licence checks are a good place to start. Employers can also require their drivers to turn their phones off and store them away while driving. The obvious exception here would be scenarios in which drivers depend on their mobile phones as sat nav devices.
If phones have to be out and on, drivers can use a cradle that affords the use of mapping software without requiring the handset to be handled. There are numerous styles of cradles that can be fitted to all kinds of commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
Tougher penalties are now in force for drivers who insist on using mobile phones while driving. Do yourself a favour and don't use your phone while driving.
BBC – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39118523