Welwyn Hatfield drivers warned of new penalties

PUBLISHED: 09:51 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:51 01 March 2017

New driving law comes into place today.

New driving law comes into place today.

Archant

Drivers are being warned of new penalties that have come into action today after 25 per cent of surveyed Hertfordshire residents admitted using their phone behind the wheel.

From today onwards, if you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving you will be fined £200 on the spot and get six points on your licence.

The new rule means new drivers who have had their licence for less than two years will lose it immediately when caught by police.

Despite it being illegal to use a handheld phone to make a call, look at a text or check social media while driving, 25 percent of surveyed Hertfordshire residents admitted to using their phone behind the wheel.

Deputy cabinet member for Highways at Hertfordshire County Council, Ralph Sangster, said: “In Hertfordshire, we welcome the increased penalty points and hope that these will do more to dissuade drivers from taking a risk behind the wheel.

“Through the Put it Away campaign, the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership will continue to educate drivers on the dangers of using their phone, the new legal penalties, as well as the potential human consequences of driving while distracted.

“Together, we want to make driving while using a mobile phone as socially unacceptable as drink driving.”

Highways England have provided the Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit with a HGV cab as an additional tool to assist with enforcement.

The HGV cab has room for two officers and provides a better vantage point to help catch offenders who may be driving larger vehicles.

They have also provided funding to train extra police officers to enable them to get an HGV licence.

Sergeant Ian Manley, of the Road Policing Unit, said: “Having the HGV cab provides us with extra enforcement opportunities which we wouldn’t have in standard police vehicles.

“It’s great to have the support of Highways England in enforcing this change in the legislation.

“If you use a mobile phone whilst driving you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision. We need to educate the public that this behaviour is completely unacceptable.

“Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but that of other innocent road users.”

To find out more about the law about using a phone behind the wheel, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/putitaway


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