Deterrent could be effective

By Surrey and Hants News in Motors

An update to the law on using a mobile phone at the wheel could see the number of drivers convicted fall dramatically, according to new research.

Previously three penalty points were added to the offender’s licence, and they were fined £100. But on March 1 these punishments were doubled to six points and a £200 fine.

A survey by Leasing Options of 1,000 adults found that 76 per cent were aware of the changes in the law, while 91 per cent said that an increase in the punishment severity would deter them from using their phone at the wheel.

Despite 29 per cent of survey respondents saying they would never use their phone at the wheel, a further 28 per cent admitted it was acceptable to phone and drive in the event of an emergency. Another 16 per cent said they would use their phone when parked at traffic lights.

Mike Thompson, brand manager at the vehicle leasing firm, said: “There has been a lot of discussion recently as to whether the increase in punishment would actually stop people using their phones whilst driving.

"We are pleased to see that our research shows it may well see the number of drivers receiving points on their licence for this offence decrease.

“It’s important that we recognise mobile phones in vehicles as distractions and do all we can to remove this completely.

"The risks involved in picking up the phone for the driver, as well as other drivers on the road, are far too great.”