The latest Government announcement for stricter penalties for drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel is being embraced. Insurance company, Insure The Box, believes the increase in penalty points – from 3 to 6 – should send a very strong message to newly qualified drivers.
“The six penalty point cap in force for the first two years for newly qualified drivers means that if they’re caught using a mobile phone they could lose their licence for their first offence,” explained Simon Rewell, Road Safety Manager at Insure The Box. “We think this should be an incredibly powerful message to young drivers to put their phones away and concentrate on the road. Losing your licence in these circumstances means motorists would have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence before having to pass both theory and practical parts of the test again to get a full licence.”
Rewell added: “And whilst the announcement addresses the use of hand held mobile phones at the wheel, motorists should also take heed that even if using hands-free they could still be prosecuted if found not to be in proper control of the vehicle. The penalties for this are the same as being caught with a hand-held mobile device.”
Simon continued, “Mobile phone distraction is one of the key causes of death of young people on the road and anything that helps to save lives has to be a good thing. We just hope that the Government can back up the increased penalties with the resources to identify the offenders in the first place.”
Insure The Box believes that telematics plays a key role in encouraging safer driving habits, especially amongst the newest drivers on the roads. Analysis of its policyholders aged 17 – 24 shows that they are 30% less likely to cause an incident after 11 months with the company, of which about half is directly due to the influence of the telematics feedback.