Drivers can now face up to 6 penalty points on their licence and a £1,000 fine when caught driving and using a handheld mobile phone. The Highway Code has been updated in the beginning of 2022, with changes coming into place in January. Harsher penalties have been set since upwards of 445,000 drivers are still using mobile phones whilst driving every day, consequently making it four times more likely to cause or be involved in a car crash as a result.
The new rules in the Highway Code initially imposes six penalty points on the driver's licence and a £200 fine if the driver chooses to accept this. If the driver decides to go to court and appeal the original points and pleasing and loses, it could mean anything from a disqualification of driving or six penalty points and a £1,000 fine, with commercial drivers facing penalties up to £2,000.
Praiso, a digital driver coaching platform from the UK, has created a driver distraction feature on their app, which aims to monitor mobile phone usage whilst being on the go. The quality can send back live data to fleet managers, reporting any driver's activity with their mobile phone. This activity could be unlocking their phone, charging their phone, texting, calling, browsing - any interaction that can be made with their mobile phone.
As part of the goal to educate and eliminate mobile phone usage, managers will be updated with a “Distraction Score” to monitor phone usage and make sure employees are not breaking the law. This score is shown and supported with an improvement content programme so that driver distraction can be reduced, prevented and hopefully eliminated. The driver distraction score is combined with real-time weather conditions, accident hotspots and driver event tracking data with Praiso and all of this is shared on the app.
Overall, this will contribute to decreasing the number of car crashes due to using a mobile phone and taking a step towards improving road safety and driver well-being.