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News weekly update: motoring offences

Motoring offences are the main topic of the news this week, with smart motorway speeding figures revealed and tougher penalties on mobile use at the wheel. We'll also be taking a look at how owning the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could invalidate your home insurance.

Increase in motorists caught speeding on smart motorways

Using a mobile behind the wheel

Over the last five years, the number of motorists fined for speeding on smart motorways has increased by 50,000.

An investigation by the BBC's One Show revealed 52,516 tickets were issued on smart stretches of the M1, M25, M4, M42 and M6 between 2014 and 2015, increasing from the 2,023 tickets issued between 2010 and 2011 when smart motorways were less commonplace.

Using overhead gantries to open and close lanes, including the hard shoulder, and change speed limits, the aim of smart motorways is to ease congestion.

But it wasn't just the number of speeding tickets that were found to have increased.

According to the investigation, revenue generated by smart motorway cameras grew from £150,600 five years ago to over £1.1m.

Last year, police in Nottinghamshire issued 8,489 speeding tickets on one section of the M1. This amounted to £425,000 in fines.

Tougher penalties for using mobiles at the wheel

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to introduce tougher penalties for motorists caught using a mobile while driving.

Did you know?

  • 31% of motorists admit to using a phone while driving
  • 14% of motorists admit to taking a photo or video while driving
  • You can be disqualified from driving if you get more than 12 penalty points
  • 6 points can get your licence revoked if you've passed your test within two years.

Source: RAC Report on Motoring 2016 — rac.co.uk

Under the new rules, drivers caught using a mobile will no longer be given the option of taking a remedial course instead of receiving points, the RAC reports.

Not only will this option be scrapped, penalties and fines will increase, with points going from three to six, and fines doubling from £100 to £200.

The tougher penalties have been welcomed by the RAC but the motoring organisation believes a heavyweight road safety campaign is also needed.

RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams, said: "For new drivers a prosecution will mean instant disqualification, as they only need six points within two years of gaining their licence to have it revoked by the DVLA."

"The Government, police, road safety and motoring organisations must accept some responsibility for failing to encourage motorists to change their behaviour and make handheld mobile phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving since it was made illegal in 2003."

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could invalidate home insurance

Following continued issues with the batteries, Samsung has discontinued its Galaxy Note 7 flagship and will be recalling all of the smartphones worldwide.

There have been warnings for owners of this device in the UK as keeping the Note 7 could invalidate their home insurance in case of damage.

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers commented: "We would expect insurers to allow a reasonable amount of time for people to act but if an item is kept or used against a manufacturer's advice and causes damage, there is a risk of insurance cover being invalidated."

"We would expect that in the case of fires caused by Galaxy Note 7s to be considered on their own merit," spokeswoman for the British Insurance Brokers Association, Pam Quinn, added.

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