Our Road Transport team have been closely monitoring the Government’s recently announced intention to change the way motorists who use a mobile phone whilst driving are prosecuted from early 2017. We have previously discussed the Government’s plans to increase the fines and penalty points for the offence, and part of the changes to be implemented include removing the possibility of first-time mobile phone offenders undertaking a remedial driving course as an alternative to receiving penalty points and a fine.
Many readers may not have been aware of the existence of such a driving course. There are certain eligibility criteria and the courses are only run in particular police force areas. Thames Valley, for example, which includes Milton Keynes and the surrounding area, have a ‘Call Divert Workshop’,consisting of a 2 ½ hour course and costing £77. Some would certainly see this as a worthwhile expenditure of time and money to avoid a £100 fine and 3 penalty points (which will stay on your driving licence for the next 3 years).
However, as stated above, ministers intend to abolish the courses, stating that they do not consider them an effective deterrent for people from using a hand-held phone while driving. Combined with the increase in penalty points from 3 to 6 from next year, the hard-line message from the Government is clear: road safety is paramount and if you choose to use your phone whilst driving then you are at real risk of losing your driving licence.
This is a very topical subject following the jailing last month of lorry driver, Tomasz Kroker, who killed a woman and three children while distracted by his phone. We urge our readers to remember that if you use your phone whilst driving then you are not only putting your own safety at risk and the safety of other road users, but you are also putting your driving licence at risk. In our experience of representing clients from all walks of life, we know what a valuable asset a valid driving licence is and how essential it can be for employment, family and social commitments.
Our specialist solicitors are on hand to offer advice and guidance in relation to both this and other motoring offences. Please contact Nathan Taylor-Allkins on 01908 202150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.