Increased penalties for using your phone while driving
Wednesday 1 March 2017, saw tougher penalties for drivers who use mobile phones or similar device while driving or riding a motorcycle. Find out more about the implications.
Penalties for using a phone have doubled to six points and a £200 fine. Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500. HGV and bus drivers face being suspended, while new drivers will have their licence revoked if they receive six or more points within two years of passing their test. Motorists caught using their phone twice or with 12 points on their licence could be taken to court, face being banned and fined £1,000.
Using a hands-free mobile is legal in the UK and many companies allow drivers to take work related hands-free calls while driving. However, studies have shown that the use of a hands-free mobile does not reduce the risk and still impacts upon driving. This is because of the mental distraction and the attention given to the conversation taking place. Studies have shown that having a hands-free mobile may actually encourage drivers to use their mobile phone while driving more.*
Companies have a duty of care to manage work-related road risks and the use of mobile phones while driving is a key risk especially as employees may use their vehicle as a mobile office. Within the 'driving at work' policy, there should be arrangements for using mobile phones, hand-held and hands-free whilst driving.
Companies must ensure employees are informed and instructed on the company policy, the impact of using mobile phones whilst driving and the consequences for not following company policy. When deciding on the use of hands-free mobiles while driving employees must be made aware they must remain in proper control of their vehicle, or careless or dangerous driving laws can be applied.
Using a hand-held or hands-free mobile will cause a distraction to drivers:
- Lack of awareness of other road users
- Poor lane position
- Erratic speeds
- Slow reactions to road situations resulting in late braking
- Slow reactions to seeing road signs
- React to the conversation which is translated into their driving style.
Aviva Risk Management can assist companies in the development of policies, procedures and educational material. As part of a training programme Aviva have developed a 360 reality on the dangers of using a hand-held mobile. If you’d like more information or assistance, please visit or contact us at
*(Gras et al., 2007)
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