From today, Wednesday 1 March, the penalties issued to motorists caught driving whilst using a mobile phone will double.
Anyone who is caught driving whilst using a handheld mobile device in Cheshire will receive a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on their licence.
In addition, offending motorists will no longer be offered the chance to complete the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) training course as an alternative to receiving points on their licence.
The change could have major ramifications for young drivers, and people who have held their licence for less than two years, as they now face the prospect of having their licence revoked on their first offence.
Assistant Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “Driving whilst using a mobile phone is unacceptable, as they can distract drivers, which can put the lives of motorists and pedestrians at risk.
“Our roads policing team deal serious and fatal collisions on a daily basis, which can be harrowing and traumatic, but families are left to deal with the consequences for many years”.
So far this financial year the Cheshire Police has issued 2463 tickets to motorist caught driving whilst using a mobile phone up from 2062 tickets in 2015/16.
As with the previous legislation motorists will still have the option to attend court to contest the offence. However, if the court rules against the defendant the penalty could be greater.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “Cheshire residents told me that road safety is a major priority for them and as a result it features strongly within my Police & Crime Plan. Driving whilst using a mobile phone is dangerous and in my opinion there is simply no excuse.
“I’m sure the majority a people would agree that it’s not worth putting lives at risk simply to take a phone call. I hope the new legislation acts as a strong deterrent to motorists who continue to decide to ignore the law.”
Assistant Chief Constable Martland added: “We’re here to make our roads safer, and we will use all of the tools and powers available to us to help us achieve our goal.
“The message is clear; driving whilst using a mobile phone is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in Cheshire and anyone who breaks the law will be dealt with robustly.”