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Hundreds of new drivers banned for mobile phone use

Hundreds of new drivers banned for mobile phone use

Hundreds of new drivers have been given automatic bans for using their mobile phones at the wheel, as part of tougher new laws introduced this year. In March, the punishment for driving while on the phone was doubled to six points - meaning drivers with less than two years experience faced a ban.Figures obtained by Radio 5 live reveal 290 new UK drivers were disqualified in the first six months since the change.RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said the figures were "sad" to see.From 1 March this year, new laws meant the penalty for being caught on a mobile phone at the wheel was increased from three points to six.
The new rules were introduced in England, Scotland and Wales.Drivers who get six points within two years of passing their test automatically lose their licence, creating a one-strike rule for mobile phone users. To get back behind the wheel, new drivers have to retake both the theory and practice parts of the driving test.
'Throw it all away'
The RAC's Mr Williams said: "These people have spent hours and hours and hundreds of pounds learning to drive to gain their personal freedom only to throw it all away through this foolish behaviour. "The only consolation is that they now won't be involved in some horrific crash caused by the distraction of a handheld mobile phone," he added.When the new penalties were introduced in March, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said they would "act as a strong deterrent" to mobile phone users.However, the figures, released by the DVLA under the Freedom of Information Act, suggest a total of 15,752 drivers received six penalty points for using a mobile phone between March and August.This is an increase from 15,237 drivers in the same period in 2016.National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said the police took the offence seriously."This is not a minor offence and is never a risk worth taking because a moment's distraction behind the wheel can change lives forever. "Our message is simple - don't do it," he added.
Policing
Mobile phones
Road traffic safety
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