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50% rise in fines for texting while driving

Alexander Heit's last text

Photo: AP/Greeley Police - The last text of 22-year-old Alexander Heit who was killed in car crash while texting and driving.

Sneaking a quick text while you're on the road could cost you more than you think.

Aside from the obvious safety risk to you, your passengers and other road users, if you're caught you could now face a £90 fine – a 50% rise on the current £60 fine - plus three points on your licence.

This was just one in a series of warnings issues by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in a road safety conference, outlining the government's plans to crack down on dangerous driving reported the Daily Mail.

It's not just mobile phone use that's being targeted. Careless driving including cutting up other drivers, eating behind the wheel, smoking while driving and needlessly hogging the middle lane on motorways are just some of the new offences which will result in a £90 fine plus three points on your licence.

No matter what your age, as a new driver if you get more than 6 points within 2 years of passing your test you'll automatically lose your licence.

ingenie founder and CEO, Richard King welcomed these announcements saying, 'Mobile phone distraction while driving is a major issue on UK roads. Our research for our #DontDriveDistracted campaign highlighted how widespread texting and driving is within the young driver community – with 44% saying they had sent a text message while driving. So it's reassuring to see the government taking this issue seriously, targeting careless drivers regardless of age or experience.'

This announcement comes hot-on-the-heels of the release of the last text message of 22-year-old American driver, Alexander Heit. The young driver lost control of his car and crashed off the road while sending a text, pictured above.

What is a fixed penalty notice?

Fixed penalty notices, sometimes referred to as FPN's are an on-the-spot fine and/or points on your licence that police and other public officials can issue for careless or dangerous driving.

You usually have 28 days to pay the fine and if you've got penalty points or (also called endorsements) you'll need to hand both your photocard and counterpart licence over to the court, fixed penalty office or the police.

Points stay on your licence for four to eleven years depending on the seriousness of the offence. Get six or more points within the first two years of passing your test and you'll automatically lose your licence.

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