Who'll fall foul of tougher mobile laws?

Image of woman driving on phone
A £200 fine would soon wipe the grin off her face
“If you have a driving conviction, insurers will see you as a greater risk and more likely to make a claim" Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

You’re probably lying if you say that you’ve never used your phone while driving.

Whether its checking the buzz on Twitter, calling your other half, giving your pal’s latest Instagram post an ego-bolstering like or even having a cheeky ‘swipe right’, thousands - nay, millions - of drivers still tinker with their phone when driving, despite the inherent safety risks to themselves and their fellow drivers and pedestrians.

But maybe tough new penalties for being caught will make you think twice.

As of this week, drivers caught prodding their phones while driving (a CU80 in official terms, legal fans) will immediately be hit with a £200 fine and six points on their licence - with no option of a remedial course, either.

What’s more, repeat offenders will be greeted with the prospect of a £1,000 fine and a ban. Yes, you heard that right. A ban.

In fact, drivers who passed their test less than two years ago now have their licence revoked if they clock up six points, so taking a single call could potentially put the kibosh on your motoring altogether.

But wait! There’s more - according to Gocompare.com*, this sort of conviction will add £100 to the price of your annual policy, as insurers will see you as a riskier prospect.

A few months back, the ever-curious data hunters at Gocompare.com conducted a bit of research** to find out which parts of the UK are most prone to this most easy to commit yet dangerous act…

Drivers from Scotland and London are the biggest offenders when it comes to driving with phones, with 19.5% and 12.4% of drivers having convictions respectively.

In contrast, the numbers show that Northern Ireland has the lowest proportion of CU80 convictions in the UK, with just 0.9% of drivers being slapped with one.

Matt Oliver, car insurance expert at Gocompare.com, mused: “It’s positive to see that these figures are quite low, however using a mobile phone while driving is a crime and with that in mind, these figures are too high.

“Driving while distracted can lead to accidents, both minor and serious.  As well as putting yourself and others in danger, if it’s deemed that you were at fault for an accident due to negligence, it can affect your ability to get car insurance.

“If you have a driving conviction, insurers will see you as a greater risk and more likely to make a claim. This will be reflected in your quote which will be higher. Each insurer will assess claims differently as will each conviction. A speeding offence may not have as much of an impact on your insurance as dangerous or driving under the influence.

“Drivers with a conviction for using a mobile phone at the wheel could see their premiums increase by over £100 and that’s on top of the potential fine and points on their licence.”

So the message is clear. Leave the phone alone - it really isn’t worth it…

Get more information on how driving convictions impact car insurance here

*Based on quote run by Gocompare.com on 34 year old insuring Ford Focus Edge 1.6, 5 years no claims bonus, with and without a CU80 conviction, with £60 fine and three points on their licence

**Gocompare.com analysed car insurance quotes made by customers on the site between January, 2016 and December, 2016. Gocompare.com looked at the numbers of drivers with a CU80 (breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc. and ranked by region