42 drivers caught in first week of new mobile phone penalties

Motorists risk tough penalties if caught using a mobile phone. Pic: John Devlin.
Motorists risk tough penalties if caught using a mobile phone. Pic: John Devlin.

Police Scotland has expressed disappointment at the number of drivers continuing to use mobile phones and other devices at the wheel – despite the recent introduction of heavier penalties.

Figures released by the service show that over the two-week campaign to highlight the new penalties, 210 people were either given a ticket or reported to the Procurator Fiscal for the offence.

Over the first five days of the new penalties being imposed, a total of 42 people were charged or reported.

The new penalties mean that as well as getting a £200 fine if caught using your phone behind the wheel, you will also now be handed six points – enough for those who have had their licence less than two years to have it revoked.

If this happens, new drivers will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence, and pass both the theory and practical parts of their test all over again.

Use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel will be punished whether drivers are making a call, using it on loudspeaker, texting, filming, taking a picture or using the internet, and the law applies even when motorists are sitting stationary in traffic.

Deputy Head of Road Policing, Superintendent Fraser Candlish, said: “While it is clear that proportionately more people were caught in the ten days prior to the new penalties being introduced, this coincided with a period when there was a great deal of advertising and publicity highlighting the change.

“It is extremely disappointing that in the first five days of the new penalties being implemented, more than 40 drivers were still prepared to put the lives of both themselves and other road users at risk by using such devices while they were driving.”

He continued: “There can be no excuse, as there was widespread public knowledge of the change. Road Policing Officers will continue to look out for anyone breaking the law, and my advice is to simply either switch off your phone entirely while driving, or only make or answer a call if you are parked.

“Remember, using such a device if you are stopped at lights, or stuck in traffic congestion, is still breaking the law and if you are seen doing it by police officers, you will be charged, so don’t risk it.”

Sandy Allan, road safety manager for RoSPA Scotland, added: ““We understand how difficult it can be to ignore your mobile phone, but there’s not a single reason that will excuse putting people’s lives at risk.”