This spring sees the introduction of new laws relating to driver safety. New child car seat legislation and tougher penalties for those caught using their mobile phones while driving come into effect on 1st March 2017. It has been widely reported that a majority of parents are unaware of the new child seat legislation, it's about time that you caught up, so you don't get caught out!
Car seat legislation gets a refresh
From March onwards, new laws around child car seats are coming into play. These updated regulations relate to the weight and height at which a child can use a backless booster seat. Although parents do not need to replace existing car seats, any new purchases need to adhere to the new rules so it’s important they understand the changes and how they could be affected.
Many car seats are unsuitable for smaller children because they would not be held securely enough in the seat. The current UK law states that a parent can use backless booster seats for children who weight 15kg and over. This would typically be a child aged three or over. However, the changes mean that only children over 22kg who are also 125cm tall can use the seats.
The change applies to new seats and doesn’t apply to backless seats already on the market that meet existing safety standards – parents are entitled to continue using their current model after the change in regulations.
Mobile phone penalties toughen up
Tougher penalties for drivers using mobile phones are also coming into force. From March there are changes to the number of penalty points a driver can receive if they are caught on the phone, as well as an increase to the fines drivers can receive. The changes are designed to further discourage any drivers tempted to use their mobile phones at the wheel.
Currently, drivers caught on their phones could face three penalty points and a minimum fine of £100. From March, this will be six points and a £200 fine. Motorists with less experience will be at risk of having their licenses revoked after a first offence.
The punishment for being caught twice has also been increased, and more experienced drivers could receive a six-month driving ban, a fine of up to £1,000 and potentially have to go to court.
Driving while using a mobile phone has been against the law since 2003. According to a survey by the RAC in September 2016, 31% of drivers confess to using a mobile while driving. This is a large increase compared to 2014, when the number was just 8%.
Driving with a mobile phone has the potential to be distracting to a driver, which can cost lives. Legislation aside, it’s important you understand that using your phone puts both you and those around you in danger.
If you’re a driver, then it’s important that you make sure you keep an eye on changes to the law that could affect you. As an insurer, we understand how important it is to keep yourself and others safe when you drive, which is why we want to help keep you in the loop about any change that could affect you.