While it has been illegal to use a hand-held phone while driving or riding a motorcycle for a while, from today, 1 March, the fixed penalties for being caught have increased and you will now be liable to get six points on your licence and a fine of £200. This applies also when queuing in traffic or stopped at a red light. If that isn’t deterrent enough, a third of insurance firms will not insure motorists who are caught, according to research from the AA.

This means that cover may be refused completely if you have been caught, or even stopped mid-policy. The insurance companies surveyed also advised potential premium increase of 20-29% for a mobile phone offence, if they do offer to provide cover.

“If an officer witnesses a clear lack of attention or dangerous behaviour while using a phone, the offence is likely to be increased to careless or dangerous driving,” said Michael Lloyd, the AA’s director of insurance. “Only two of the insurers researched would offer cover for someone with a dangerous driving offence to their name, typically increasing their premium by 58%.

“So, if you were caught using your hand-held device and inadvertently ran a red light with a resultant near miss, a dangerous driving offence would almost certainly be the result.”

Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Sutcliffe & Co, added: "Drivers should avoid the temptation to use their phones as the evidence clearly shows the chances of a crash are significantly increased - insurance companies are therefore unwilling to support drivers who ignore the risks. If you are a business owner you also have a legal responsibility to enforce safe driving practices amongst your employees."

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Dermott Quinn, Managing Director Ductbusters Ltd

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“We had been with our current broker for several years and had become complacent. An increase in premiums led us to want to cross check with an alternative broker and we chose Sutcliffe. We found them a breath of fresh air; there was a transparency in our dealings, their advice gave us options and they found competitive ways of providing insurance from high quality companies."

Chris Oliver, Director, CHANE Investments Ltd

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“I was thrilled when I found Sutcliffe & Co, friendly, efficient and with competative prices. Their expert advisor really helped me through the insurance minefield and he went that extra mile that other companies just did not...."

Michelle Davies, Office Manager, Davies and Daughters Building Contractors

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"May I congratulate you and your staff for the attention to detail and the service that you have given to Ductbusters over the years. We searched for a long time for an Insurance Broker that had the professionalism to resource the many and varied insurances we required and you have never failed ourselves."

Anthony Eddies-Davies, Director, Live The Adventure Ltd

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