As of March 1st 2017, the government has introduced a trio of new motoring laws which every motorist in the UK should be aware of in order to stay on the right side of the law.
Included among these are tougher new regulations regarding the use of mobile phones in cars, along with new legal requirements for parents who put their children in car seats.
Read on below to find out more information about the new laws and exactly what you need to know about them.
Using mobile phones behind the wheel
Due to the amount of motorists caught by police using mobile phones behind the wheel of their cars, officials have been forced to introduce much heftier penalties in order to deter would-be lawbreakers.
The new legislation means that anyone caught using a mobile phone while behind the wheel of a car will receive a minimum of six penalty points and a £200 fine, which is exactly double the previous penalty of three points and a £100 fine.
As well as that, drivers will no longer be given the opportunity to complete a National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course as an alternative to receiving points on their licences.
Finally, new drivers who passed their tests within the past two years, now also run the risk of having their licence revoked upon their first offence, if they’re found guilty of using a phone while driving.
Using ‘any internet device’ behind the wheel
The new legislation doesn’t just apply to mobile phones but also to “any internet device”, basically any phone, tablet, computer or other device which is able to access the internet.
Police have reported an increasing number of drivers caught texting, using apps like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and even live-streaming while behind the wheel of a car.
The penalties for such an offence are the same as those for anyone caught using their phone while driving: that means an instant six penalty points on your licence and a £200 fine.
It’s important to note that this also counts when the driver is sitting stationary on the road, for example while stopped at a junction or at traffic lights. It’s only legal to use your phone or device when you’re safely parked off the road, never while on it.
Child car seat regulations
As of today, the law regarding child seats has also changed to mean that the use of cushion booster seats will now be restricted to older children only.
The change in regulation means that any child under 125cm (4.1 feet) tall and less than 22kg (3.5 stone) in weight must use a child seat with a back instead of a backless booster cushion, however children must use continue to use an appropriate child seat until they are either 135cm (4.4 feet) tall or 12 years old.
The reason is that backless car seats offer far less protection in the event of a collision, particularly in the event of a side-on crash, and could end up proving fatal to younger or smaller children.
Anyone caught not using an appropriate child seat for their car will be faced with a £100 fine, however it should be noted that the new law only applies to seats which are bought after March 1st 2017.