Tougher punishments for drivers caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel of a car in the UK are set to be introduced.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced the plans, and said she intends to legislate for higher penalty points and fines for motorists driving while on the phone.
Currently, motorists across Britain and Northern Ireland caught using a hand-held phone while driving face a £60 fine and three penalty points. New proposals would mean a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Ms Mallon said the current punishment “doesn’t reflect the seriousness” of the dangers of driving while on the phone.
Ms Mallon added: “A new driver loses their licence if they receive six or more penalty points within the first two years of passing their driving test, so this will send a very serious message to all drivers of all ages and a particularly strong message to our new drivers.
“That’s why today I have written to the Committee for Infrastructure outlining alongside a number of legislative priorities, my intention to legislate for increased fines and penalties for drivers using their mobile phones.
“This would be a first step to signal to drivers that I will be taking a zero tolerance approach to dangerous driving.”