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Penalties doubled for using a mobile while driving

PENALTY: New and tougher penalties are twice as much as before

FROM WEDNESDAY, March1, drivers face six points and a £200 fine if they are caught using their mobile phone at the wheel.

The new and tougher penalties are twice as much as before, with previous legislation issuing motorists with three penalty points on their licence and a £100 fine.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the tougher penalties and the dangers involved of using a mobile phone while driving.

The new legislation also means newly qualified drivers may have their licence revoked on the first offence under the New Driver Act.

GMP Inspector Tony Allt, of the Roads Policing Unit, said: “Unfortunately, there are still a number of drivers who selfishly continue to endanger the lives of fellow road users, as well as their own, by using a mobile phone while driving.

“To coincide with the national campaign and the introduction of the tougher penalties, we will have a number of marked and unmarked patrol vehicles and road side checks to identify and stop motorists who break the law.

“Using a mobile phone or any device that distracts your attention while driving is simply wrong for the road.”

To raise awareness among recently qualified drivers, GMP along with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) will hold an educational event for students at Bury College on Friday, March 3.

Students will have the chance to try a simulator that will safely demonstrate the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.

GMFRS Head of Prevention Paul Etches, said: “All too often our firefighters attend serious and life changing incidents caused by drivers being distracted whilst driving. Maintaining control of any vehicle at all times is the only way to reduce these often tragic outcomes.”

Graham Jones, chair of the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: “There’s no excuse for using a mobile phone at the wheel. Missing a call won’t kill anyone – a collision might.

“The safest option is to switch your phone off before driving. If you do leave it switched on, keep it out of reach and, if it rings, find a safe and legal place to stop and call back.

“It’s not worth risking your and other people’s lives – and your livelihood – to use the phone while driving.”

As well as increasing traffic operations, GMP will also be spreading the word on the new legislation and the dangers associated with using a mobile while driving as part of the #WrongForTheRoad social media campaign.

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