‘Facebook isn’t worth it’, says Lincolnshire partnership as fines double for using phone while driving

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The Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership has welcomed the arrival of doubly costly fines for driving while using a phone, stating more people than ever are being tempted by their social media alerts.

The penalties for using a mobile phone while driving will dramatically go up nationwide tomorrow.

Anyone caught using their phone at the wheel will now be charged £200 and given six penalty points on their licence.

The educational course that could previously remove the points will also be withdrawn.

John Siddle, the Communications Manager of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “A driver is four times more likely to have a collision whilst using a mobile phone.

“Combine this with travelling on rural Lincolnshire roads, often at the national speed limit, and the outcome is often fatal.”

He also claimed that phone use while driving is on the increase thanks to smartphones.

“Our phones can do so many thing nowadays like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the temptation is always there to check them.

“In 2011, we had a chap who was using Facebook while driving to thank everybody for his birthday messages. Unfortunately, he found himself on the wrong side of the road while doing that and killed a young woman.”

The changes mean that younger drivers who are only allowed six points on their license could lose it for their first offence.

The penalty for phone usage has been increased several times already. It has gone from £60 to £100 but the LRSP says this has done little to deter motorists.

John said: “Drivers have long argued that using a phone in the car is no more dangerous than talking to a passenger or listening to music. They are wrong!”

He said the distraction prevents road users from making decisions or responding to dangers properly.

John’s advice is to put your phone somewhere you aren’t tempted to reach for it while driving, like a bag or the glove box.

The LRSP estimates that the three points given to drivers will increase their insurance by around £500.

Since drivers can no longer take courses to remove the points, the second time they are caught they will almost certainly lose their license.