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As of this week, Wiltshire Police will be supporting the National Police Chief’s Council’s campaign to crack down on drivers using mobile phones while at the wheel.
The campaign aims to change the behaviour of drivers and highlight the consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving. This may not just be because of people making calls on their phones but checking texts or emails, using social media or changing their playlists.
“If you are looking at your phone you are not paying attention to the road,” said PC Ben Cox of the Road Policing Unit, “You could miss road signs, the brake lights of the vehicle in front of you and as you will not have proper control of the vehicle you increase the likelihood of straying into the wrong lane. You are four times more likely to have an accident when using a hand-held mobile. “
You could get 6 points on your licence and a £200 fine if you are illegally using a mobile phone while driving. Even if you are using a mobile phone legally you could still get 3 points and a £100 fine for not being in proper control of your vehicle.
New legislation due to be introduced on 25 March 2022 will go further than the current legislation. Drivers will be banned from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games. This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to continue using a device ‘hands-free’ while driving, such as a sat-nav, if it’s in a cradle. They must, however, always take responsibility for their driving and can still be charged with an offence they are deemed not to be in proper control of their vehicle.
Department of Transport figures show that 17 people were killed on British roads last year, involving drivers using mobile phones. A further 114 were seriously injured and 385 more slightly injured in such collisions.