Tough new penalties for using mobile phones while driving come into force – accident prevention! Now updated

Do Not SMS (ie Text) and Drive
Do Not SMS (ie Text) and Drive

Government backs AA campaign to make driving while using mobiles as socially unacceptable as drink driving

 From today, 1st March 2017 onwards, the fixed penalty notice for using a handheld mobile phone while driving doubles from £100 to £200 and 3 to 6 points with bus and good vehicle drivers’ facing a hike in fines from £1,000 to £2,500 if taken to court.

It has been illegal to use a hand-held device while driving or while stopped with the engine on since December 2013 but using mobile phones while driving is still more socially more acceptable than drink driving. To change that, the AA is calling on motorists to stop using their mobile phones while driving as part of their on-going campaign aimed at reducing fatalities.

In a bid to better understand consumer attitudes, AA carried out a research study with Populus to highlight the difference in our perceived risks associated with drink driving and driving while using a mobile phone.

Out of a poll of over 17,000 Brits, nearly 71 per cent said that texting while driving is more likely to cause a crash than drink driving. In comparison, only 29 per cent said that drink driving is likely to be catastrophic on the roads. Yet, the millennials just can’t part with their digital devices and social media notifications with 51 per cent of 18-to-24 year olds confessing that they can’t bring themselves to turn off their mobile phones before driving.


Amongst the over 65s, digital divorce was found less challenging with only 12 per cent saying they find it difficult to shut down their mobile phones.


The older age groups seem to hold the opinion that using mobile phones while driving poses more risks than drink driving with 74 per cent of over 55 saying the risk of experiencing a crash is higher when texting while driving. In comparison to 47 per cent of 18-to-24 year olds who believe driving after drinking is more likely to cause an accident.

According to the AA, you are twice as likely to crash text driving than you are drink driving but despite the awareness, there is still a prevalence of high profile court cases of drivers causing death and serious injuries due to texting, calling or searching for music on their mobile phones while driving.

When was the last time you asked your friend to put down their mobile phone while driving? The AA, with the support of the Department for Transport, has produced the thought-provoking film below, titled ‘Designated Driver’, which will be appearing across  cinemas in the UK starting March 3.

Living with multiple sclerosis – tips about driving, money and relationships!

Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis

Relationships, support and care


Coming to terms with a long-term condition such as MS can put a strain on you, your family and your friends. It can be difficult to talk to people about your condition, even if they’re close to you.

Dealing with the deterioration of symptoms, such as tremors and increasing difficulty with movement, can make people with MS very frustrated and depressed. Inevitably, their spouse, partner or carer will feel anxious or frustrated as well.

Be honest about how you feel and let your family and friends know what they can do to help. Don’t feel shy about telling them that you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you want.


If you have any questions, your MS nurse or GP may be able to reassure you or let you know about the other support that’s available. You may find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor or psychologist, or to someone at a specialist helpline.

Some people find it helpful to talk to other people who have MS, either at a local support group or in an internet chatroom.

Care and support services

It’s worth taking time to think about your specific needs and what you might need to achieve the best quality of life. For example, if your balance and co-ordination are affected, you may want to think about equipment and home adaptations.

It may be useful to read your guide to care and support. It includes information and advice on:

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Having a baby

Being diagnosed with MS shouldn’t affect your ability to have children. However, some of the medication prescribed for MS may affect fertility in both men and women.

If you’re considering starting a family, discuss it with your healthcare team, who can offer advice.


Women with MS can have a normal pregnancy, deliver a healthy baby and breastfeed afterwards.

Having a baby doesn’t affect the long-term course of MS. Relapses tend to be less common in pregnancy, although they can be more common in the months after giving birth.

You may need to continue taking medication throughout your pregnancy. However, some medication shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy, so it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare team.

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Money and financial support

If you have to stop work or work part-time because of your MS, you may find it hard to cope financially. You may be entitled to one or more of the following types of financial support:

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If you’ve been diagnosed with MS, you must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and also inform your insurance company.

In many cases, you’ll be able to continue driving, but you’ll be asked to complete a form providing more information about your condition, as well as details of your doctors and specialists. The DVLA will use this to decide whether you’re fit to drive.

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[Original article on NHS Choices website]