Officers have been out this week targeting drivers who continue to use their phones as part of an ongoing enforcement fortnight, which runs until Monday 1st December 2019.
Drivers may well think that using hands-free or handheld mobile phones does not affect them, but research has shown that you are four-times more likely to be involved in a collision if you use your phone. Reaction times are affected; you can be two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink and drive, increasing to three times if you use a handheld phone.
Inspector Wendy Keepin, of Gwent Police's Area Support Unit, said; "Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or a text.
"It has been an offence to use a phone at the wheel since 2003, yet drivers do still continue to risk their own and other's safety. You can only use a handheld phone if you are parked, or need to call 999 in an emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.
"We will not tolerate the use of these devices at the wheel, especially when the consequences could be devastating. We intend to robustly deal with offenders; the penalty is six points on your licence and a fine of £200."
The law and consequences…
- It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving – including using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.
- It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver.
- These both apply even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
- You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked, or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
- If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.
- If you get just 6 points in the first 2 years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
- Using a hands-free device (for example, for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.
- Points on your licence will lead to higher insurance costs