Not while driving

There can’t be any driver in the UK that doesn’t know that using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal (with minimal exceptions). Yet many people still do it. Why?

I suggest it’s because the risk of being caught is low and the penalties are insignificant. An automatic fixed penalty notice meaning a £60 fine and 3 points or up to £1000 fine (£2500 for drivers of HGV/PSVs) and a driving ban if it goes to court. In practice though the fine is generally much lower. When you consider that mobiles these days are expensive items, some costing hundreds of pounds, the fine is often less than the cost of the phone!

What’s needed is a proper deterrent. Make the risk of being caught unacceptable.

Many people have their lives on their mobiles, contacts, calendars etc, they never go anywhere without it. Imagine if they lost that precious bit of kit – or if it was confiscated, at the roadside.

Confiscation and a hefty fine for a first offence; for a subsequent offence the mobile could be destroyed, along with all the information on it!

 I believe people would think long and hard about risking a loss like that, and some may think this rather drastic, but that’s the point. Obviously the present laws have proved to be ineffective.

Until there’s sufficient political Will some people will continue to flout the law, and statistics prove that the people who do ignore this law are also more likely to ignore others too, like not wearing seat belts or driving without insurance. It’s an “attitude thing”; so Cameron & Co do something positive – for a change.

Update 05/06/13The government have just announced plans to toughen up on offenders such as these. From July on the spot fines will increase to £100 for illegal phone use. Good! But not good enough!

Until it pays, financially, to stay within the law there will always be those who think “it doesn’t apply to me“. The fine has to be significantly higher or HMG, via David Cameron, are simply tinkering around the edges, making noises for votes.

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