Highway Code changes slammed by Steve McNamara
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According to recent research, 43 percent of drivers openly admit to using their smartwatches when they are behind the wheel. Following March 25, drivers can receive six penalty points and a £200 fine if they hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle.
They will also lose their licence if they passed their driving test within the last two years.
Motorists can get three penalty points if they do not have a full view of the road.
This will usually apply to a mounted phone or sat nav which could be blocking sight of the traffic ahead.
Christian Williams, from leading car competitions company, BOTB, said: “Many of the laws surrounding UK driving are understood by most road users and wouldn’t present much of a problem.
“But what catches drivers out are the less common laws – these are the ones that you likely don’t think about when behind the wheel.”
The police can charge motorists for reckless or careless driving because they catch them checking their phone or smartwatch.
When driving without due care and attention, drivers can be slapped with an on-the-spot £100 fine and three points on their driving licence.
If this case goes to court and they are convicted, they could receive a £5,000 fine and up to nine penalty points.
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Mr Williams added: “Mobile phones have been banned while driving for almost 20 years, but you may not be aware that any device is illegal to operate while driving a vehicle.
“Specifically, the Highway Code states that the ban applies to holding or using any device that can send and receive data.
“But did you know, the law also applies to smartwatches even while traffic is stationary or you are stopped at a red light.
“You can even be fined for using a smartwatch while supervising a learner driver.”
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New mobile phone driving laws were introduced earlier this year, tightening the rules and increasing penalties.
Motorists can get six penalty points and a £200 fine if they hold and use any device that can send and receive data while driving or riding a motorcycle.
While a road user is allowed to use their phone to pay at a drive-through, if they’re sitting in the car using their phone and the engine is running, their phone shouldn’t be in their hands.
According to the International Data Corporation, when drivers have conversations on their devices, whether handheld or hands-free, reaction times are increased.
Using a smartwatch when driving can be very dangerous with the driver’s ability to assess and react to a problem decreased.
They also found that smartwatches are a bigger distraction to drivers than mobile phones.
Baroness Charlotte Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, praised the law change in a tweet earlier this year.
She said: “We’re one step closer to making almost ANY use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel illegal.
“Today, we laid documents in Parliament which will bring about this vital measure.
“Subject to necessary approvals, we expect the change to come into effect by March 25.”
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