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Drivers to face harsher penalties for using a mobile phone behind wheel

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Patrick McLoughlin indicated that fines for a variety of offences would rise by 50%, from £60 to £90 although the number of penalty points given to offenders will remain at three.

The higher fine will also be levied on drivers caught speeding and going through a red light.

Meanwhile drivers found guilty of other careless driving offences, including cutting up other drivers, eating a sandwich or lighting a cigarette at the wheel, driving at an inappropriate speed and unnecessarily hogging the middle lane on a motorway will also receive three penalty points and a £90 fine.

The move will also see new drug-driving laws introduced, although the current drink-drive limit will not be lowered.

McLoughlin told the Daily Mail: ‘We want to send a clear message to dangerous drivers: If you continue to show complete disregard for the safety of other road users, we will catch you – and we will punish you.’

He also admitted that he had used his mobile phone when driving in the past but would not now condone it now.

In response to the news, IAM director of policy Neil Greig said: ‘An increase in fixed penalty levels is needed to maintain the deterrent effect. But the fear of getting caught is the key to changing driver behaviour and high-profile policing must be a top priority. Any income from new fines should be put back into road safety to counter recent spending cuts.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.