Vera Baird backs plans to double the fine for drivers using mobile phone

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has backed government proposals to double the fine given to motorists who use a mobile phone at the wheel.

This would see those who talk, text and use the internet on the their hand-held devices while driving face a £200 on-the-spot fine instead of the £100 currently in place.

There are also plans to include technology such as the Apple Watch in the new legislation which aren’t currently covered due to them not being hand-held.

Commissioner Baird said: “I absolutely welcome these proposals to double the penalties for using a mobile phone at the wheel. I’ve made it no secret that I believe mobile phones should be switched off while a person is driving.

“A mobile phone can be a major distraction. Even an alert tone can lead to a momentary loss of focus when behind the wheel and could lead to devastating consequences.

“These potential consequences should be enough to deter motorists from using a mobile phone at the wheel. However, a significant increase to the on-the-spot fine will also go a long way to making drivers think twice before doing this.”

Commissioner Baird has previously urged the Government to get tougher on motorists who are caught for a second time using a mobile phone at the wheel by banning them from the roads.

She added: “Most drivers recognise the dangers of drink-driving and the consequences they face if caught. There needs to be equally as strong penalties in place for those caught using a phone while driving. This should be coupled with stronger sentencing available to the courts to again act as a major deterrent to anyone thinking of using a mobile phone at the wheel.”

The Northumbria Police campaign Operation Dragoon focusing on all aspects of road safety is continuing.