***Driving test changes from 4th Dec 2017*** see link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-test-changes-4-december-2017
MOTORISTS FACE PROSECUTION FOR PASSING TOO CLOSE TO CYCLISTS
Motorists who endanger cyclists by getting too close to them will be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention under a new scheme.
West Midlands Police have begun proceedings against 38 motorists for what is known as close passing – giving cyclists less than a metre-and-a-half of room.
Police officers on bikes equipped with cameras are patrolling busy roads and radioing ahead to patrol cars when they film bad driving, with most offenders being given roadside advice.
Traffic officer and cyclist PC Mark Hodson said: “As a police force we must do our utmost to protect vulnerable road users and show that anyone who puts them in danger through poor driving will be dealt with.
“Cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces or obstacles like drain covers so it’s important to afford them plenty of room when overtaking.”
More than 21,000 cyclists were injured on Britain’s roads in 2014, with 113 killed.
Champion triathlete Constantine Mamole (pictured) was badly injured when he was knocked off his bike by a car two years ago.
Now back at work at his Kings Of Cycling shop in Leeds he has made a full physical recovery, but says he is too anxious to train on the road and has not raced since.
“It affects your professional life, your personal life, you become a different person,” he said.
“It has a massive impact on any cyclist.”
Source: Sky News
Tougher penalties for drivers caught using mobile phones at the wheel
by Jimi Beckwith
19 September 2016
Drivers caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel will now be hit with six points on their licence and a £200 fine.
The Department for Transport has been planning a crackdown on the offence for some time now, and previously suggested that a four-point and £150 penalty would deter drivers.
The new penalties are double the previous ones, and the introduction of the tougher legislation comes just days after an RAC survey found a considerable rise in mobile phone use behind the wheel.
Read more about the RAC’s findings here
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “we need to take responsibility for our actions and as drink or drug driving has become socially unacceptable, so must using mobile phones at the wheel.
“It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but the truth is your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others.”
Here’s why you shouldn’t use your mobile phone behind the wheel
In 2014 and 2015, the DfT found that the use of a mobile phone behind the wheel contributed to 43 fatal accidents in 2014 and 2015. The government is also introducing a high-profile Think! campaign to accompany the higher penalties, to raise awareness around the new penalties, and the dangers of committing the offence.
The transport secretary also said that he aims to make using a phone at the wheel “socially unacceptable, like drink driving or not wearing a seatbelt.”
The government formerly planned four-point penalties, read more here
The road safety spokesman for the RAC, Pete Williams, said: “The Government’s swift action to the findings in the RAC Report on Motoring shows they understand just how dangerous it can be to use a handheld mobile phone at the wheel. However, it is just as important that laws are seen to be enforced, and the decline in the numbers of dedicated road traffic police has only heightened the feeling that those who use a handheld phone while driving simply get away with it.”
“We hope we will see an immediate change in driver behaviour and an end to anyone using a handheld mobile phone while driving.”
The tougher penalties will come into play in the first half of 2017.
Using mobile phones when driving: the law
It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.
The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
Penalties for using your phone while driving
You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding. You’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.
Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
You’ll lose your licence if you get 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing your test.
When you can use a phone in your vehicle
If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you:
need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
are safely parked
Using hands-free devices when driving
You can use hands-free phones, sat navs and 2-way radios when you’re driving or riding. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.