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There has been an announcement from ministers about a tough new crackdown on motorists using their mobiles while at the wheel.

The government will be increasing potential penalties for driver who text, call, take pictures, record videos or surf the internet, basically any form of using your phone while in charge of a vehicle following a strong expression of public disapproval over several severe accidents.

What is changing

First time offenders will see fines double from £100 to £200 and will face a rise in the amount of penalty points given which are to go up from 3 to six.

Repeat offenders will be fined up to £1,000 and potentially face court action and any newly qualified driver caught illegally using a phone could be forced to take their test again.

Furthermore any person found using their mobile illegally twice before the new rules come in to effect will possibly face a ban when they do get put in place.

The Department for Transport (DfT) expects the new rules to come into effect in the first half of 2017 in England, Scotland and Wales. However Northern Ireland has no plans as of the moment to change their current system which hits drivers with a £60 fine and 3 penalty points if caught using a mobile illegally while driving.

Ministers have also promised that the new rules will come with an awareness program to go with them.

Ministers have promised that the new penalty regime will be accompanied by an awareness programme run along the same lines as seasonal drink-driving campaigns.