Many people think the distraction of using a mobile phone whilst driving creates as much risk as a motorist being over the drink drive limit. In addition, Prime Minister Theresa May has stated she wishes to make mobile phone use by drivers as “culturally unacceptable” as drinking and driving.
Despite this, a third of drivers have admitted to speaking on a mobile whilst driving, with 20% sending messages or even using Facebook and Twitter.
It doesn’t help that, up until now, many people have felt that thanks to budget cuts and fewer road patrols they’re not particularly likely to get caught using their phone or be penalised for doing so. Thankfully, a new clampdown seems set to push us further towards the cultural change the PM wishes for.
For starters, there are plans to significantly increase the penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving. These penalties are likely to launch later this year, and include a fine of £200 and six penalty points for anyone caught. There is even talk of new speed cameras being put to use that will be able to spot drivers using mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts. Quite aside from the safety aspects, these would surely prove quite the revenue-generator.
Severe penalties are already being imposed for people causing accidents due to inattention while using the phone. AAs reported by The BBC, a lorry driver was sentenced to ten years for causing the tragic death of a mother and three children last year. New proposals could increase the maximum penalty for such an offence to life imprisonment.
Before these laws are even confirmed, the authorities have started taking a much more proactive approach to catching people breaking this law. Reports have revealed that almost 8000 people were caught and punished for using their phones during a recent seven-day clampdown, with another such initiative underway this week.
There have been similar clampdowns before, but not on such a scale and involving so many police forces. Anyone taking a lax attitude to using their mobile phone is now far more likely to get caught, and the penalties will soon be more severe too. The practice is unsafe, and simply not worth the risk.
What is your view on drivers using mobile phones, and what do you think of the recent clampdowns? Let us know in the comments below.
IMAGE CREDIT: Pexels
About time for a clampdown on mobile phone use.
It has turned into an epidemic on britains roads, unacceptable as much as drink driving.
Forget the fines, anyone caught should receive an immediate driving ban, just get the police officers to issue the relevant paperwork and take the keys off the driver.
But this is UK and we don’t like upsetting people even when they are breaking the law, the do-gooders will complain it’s against our human rights or some other pathetic excuse.
It now needs a very hard hit on these offenders or it will just be another piece of legislation which does not get implemented.
Totally agree with everything that’s been said in the article to many people with a total disregard for the law in this country.
Anyone caught using a mobile phone whilst driving should be banned from driving for 12 months, this would rapidly put an end to this highly dangerous practice.
Take their car away and crush it, while they watch!
Give them a12 month ban.
Good to know that the penalties for using a phone while driving will be harsher. To have the desired effect, there needs to be zero tolerance with an outright ban on driving when a motorist is caught. A £200 fine and six penalty points are not enough.
As a motorcyclist and cyclist, it’s bad enough with all drivers trying to kill you without them trying to use the phone at the same time!! Idiots wandering out in front of me with no indication, dithering along at 20mph, I felt like kicking the car in when I saw them on the phone! Some of the bigger fools must think their cruise control guides the car for the distance they travel without looking up from the phone. In my view ALL phones should have a button that you have to hold when you are moving so that drivers cant use them!
Most four wheel drivers don’t TRY to kill motorcyclists – we try to avoid you when you pop up in all sorts of unexpected places and frighten us. I have bought a dashcam to record the antics of those two wheel drivers who act as though they are invincible and seem to be of the opinion that a four wheel drive vehicle can stop in 2 metres from 30mph – and this without being hit from behind by someone else. Thankfully I have never hit a motorcycle or cyclist and I hope I never do. The last incident with a motorcycle was when I was the last car in a traffic queue and the motorcycle crashed into me from behind – clearly going too fast to stop safely. The one before that was several miles of road rage from a motorcyclist repeatedly treading on the brakes right in front of me. Eventually I pulled into a side road to get away. What would have been his story if I had not been able to stop in time? I have no idea what I did to deserve this except to drive in a straight line down a straight road.
Please do not tar everyone all with the same brush. Drivers of all vehicles are sometimes thoughtless, but most are not trying to kill someone or to commit suicide.
On a related subject, and as a cyclist, what penalties do you think should be applied to cyclists who
A) Cycle in the pavement
B) Cycle on the wrong side of the road
C) Cycle whilst texting
D) Do ‘wheelies’
E) Cycle at night with no lights and wearing dark clothes
F) Go through red lights as if the law doesn’t apply to them
G) When sharing a footpath with pedestrians, fail to use their bell when approaching from behind
H) All of the above at the same time
I’m sure you’ll agree these are all accidents desperate to happen
Like Aeroplane mode ALL phones should have a Driver mode and drivers should be prosecuted for not driving in Driver Mode!
I think it is a good thing that authorities are clamping down on people using mobile phones while driving. I also think that there should be a way that other, more responsible, members of the public could get involved by taking photos (if not driving themselves) of anybody they see doing it and posting them online. This might be a warning to these people that they have been seen doing it and might make them less likely to do it. I often see people who are obviously texting but they think that they cannot be seen because the phone is out of view.
Bravo Steve, that suggestion is a class statement and should be taken that final step further. also the threat of a £1000 fine plus a six month ban would be a suitable punishment tarrif. i would go so far as to suggest a mandatory sentence of six months imprisonment for any second and subsequent offence as well. i have witness the carnage caused by a coach driver cauing six deaths through using a phone whilst driving and crossing the carriageway.
I do not dispute the risks from mobile phone use, but what about all the people one sees lighting and smoking cigarettes while driving? or applying makeup? or tying neckties? (I have seen both of these being done while driving through roadworks and fog, no less) or reading maps? or turning round to talk to passengers? or taking both hands off the wheel (often combined with talking)? or those who drive tired and doze at the wheel?
Why should phone use be targeted, just because it is the most recent arrival?
The offence should be something like “failing to be in proper control of a motor vehicle at *all* times”, which would cover all the above, and the application of which might start to make drivers realise they are in charge or a lethal weapon that can kill multiple people at any time and to start acting more responsibly.
A car is not a lethal weapon Peter, it is a motor vehicle that can be dangerous if used inappropriately or aggressively. No one would describe a biro as a lethal weapon, although you can kill a person with one.
Clampdowns on use of mobile ‘phones whilst driving is good, more needed.
As to it being a revenue-generator, what do you suggest? Jail for everyone doing it?
What I am more concerned about is any increase of the use of cameras to monitor the population, and therefore used for other purposes.
It should be illegal to continue a phone call to someone who’s driving.
“Asisting an offender” covers it but I have had calls put through to me from my office from German customers, who get very upset.
Try complaining to the boss?
One will say “don’t answer it” while, if it is them trying to get through it is more ” we supply a phone to get hold of you!”
Of course there is a counter argument that on long boring, evening motorway drives, talking to a friend on hands free helps alertness levels from falling
In view of the accidents caused by drivers using mobile phones at the wheel, and the cheap price of hands free accessories, there is absolutely no excuse for using a handset whilst driving.
The consequences can be devastating, and the intended penalties are still not severe enough in my opinion. If you want to stop people using a phone, the penalties need to be a real deterrent – £1000 fine and 1 month ban should do it!
People who use a mobile phone while driving deserve everything they get.
A hands free kit for for vehicles that have not got it factory fitted by the manufacturer would cost a lot less than the £200 fine that will be incurred by the offending driver, not to mention the Insurers price hike when they see the added 6 points on their licence. It should prove to be a great source of revenue generation judging by the amount of people I see using their phones whilst driving.
It’ s dangerous.
Good thing that the police are cracking down on it
Where is that exactly?! Lol! Not round here thats for sure.
About time. I have seen very many near misses where the vehicle driver is patently chatting on phone a mobile phone. There are so many inexpensive devices now available to enable hands-free phone conversations and even dialling that there is no excuse whatsoever for this anti-social and dangerous practice.
No doubt some people will whinge “Stealth Tax” when the new penalties are invoked. Bring it on, I say. I can seen no argument against any penalty imposed upon a motorist (or any other individual for that matter) where they have blatantly ignored, for their own convenience, the safety and convenience of other members of the community. If that penalty actually makes a profit for the community, thereby reducing taxes etc for the law-abiding members, then so much the better.
The offenders should get the cat of nine tails, a few lashes from this toy will make them think twice about using a phone whilst driving,
BUT I think manufactures could make their vehicles automatically send a message to the police when it detects a phone being used whilst the vehicle is being driven, giving the police the vehicle reg and location.
The punishment should be a minimum of a 12 month ban along with crushing of the phone. If people that at are so hell bent on using their phone behind the wheel of their car were punished in such a way, it may well focus their minds if they were to lose the very thing that was more important to them then everyone else’s safety, including their own.
I would hazard a guess that those who text on there phones are more distracted and therefore more dangerous. Rather than adding seat belt and mobile phone cameras to speed cameras, which is really taking us deeper into Big Brother society, I would like to see the insurance company being informed. Car insurance is expensive enough as it is. Knowing it could add another 15% to the renewal premiums if convicted may persuade the offenders to think otherwise.
About time too! So many cars are Bluetooth enabled now, and even if they aren’t, you can buy Bluetooth headsets for less than a tenner, so there’s absolutely no excuse. Making cars Wi-Fi ready though I fear is only going to increase the incidents of accessing social media whilst on the move, and until people realise it actually doesn’t need to control their lives this is not going to go away any time soon.
Pleased to hear that there will be a clamp down on mobile phone use while driving.
Penalties need to be more punitive than £200.00 – a good scheme would be to confiscate the phone and crush it. In my opinion that would make people think twice.
Maybe the authorities could look at the growing trend of running red lights – just as dangerous as using a mobile phone.
A £200 fine with 6 penalty points will still NOT deter drivers from phoning and texting whilst driving. It has been proven that using your phone whilst driving is MORE dangerous than drink driving. The penalty therefore should be just as severe. I would advocate the same penalties ie, a 1 year ban and fines from £1000 upwards, for using a phone whilst driving. A bit draconian some people might say, but what price is a life?
About time, instead of giving them a fine just give them a driving ban then no one accuse the authorities of using this as a money generator.
I agree that we need stricter laws about using a mobile phone while driving. The number of times I see people driving one handed whilst on the phone is amazing considering that I live on the Kent coast. The most frightening of all is when you see someone come round a corner one handed as they are on the mobile.
For repeat offenders they should be made to attend driving refreshers and even a period of imprisonment.
I think anything that saves lives is a great thing !! And using a phone while driving is just so irresponsible. Remember what we did before mobile phones we pulled off to a phone box if we just had to make a call or waited until home and everyone managed fine..
If you don’t have in car speakers connected to your phone, what will the law be if a mobile is on a dashboard holder and you answer a call on the phone’s loud speaker? If your not holding your phone would that be allowed?
Touching to answer on loud speaker is no different from changing tracks on a CD in my opinion. Would like to know this part of the new law, what is and what is not included when your not holding the phone.
Otherwise I am in full agreement that hand held phones should get the maximum of penalties and be as unacceptable as drink driving.
I’m all for the new laws.
Why has this taken so long? There is no excuse, other than someone in a life/death situation in the vehicle and no one else who can make a call, for using a mobile while driving. Even then, the vast majority of mobiles, even older ones, have handsfree functionality. A £200 fine is nowhere near enough. Dog owners can get fined up to £1000 for fouling offences (has any ever received a fine for this?) and that’s far less likely to result in someone losing their life. Irresponsible drivers + weak legislation = more deaths and higher insurance premiums. That is a very easy equation to balance.
Its about time the government did something about drivers using their mobiles while driving.
A few months ago when on the Croydon flyover, a white sports Audi driver was on his mobile and held up traffic resulting in a massive traffic jam. He then sped off as if in a rally race, then had to stop when traffic was in front of him. I was behind him at this point and he continued to use his mobile. He ignored other drivers using their horns at him. I see people using their mobiles all of the time whilst driving. People with children in the car, heads bent down at traffic lights, obviously texting and/or holding the mobile on their raised shoulder with the side of their head supporting the mobile while talking AND driving.
In the Canaries, the motorways have lights and signs above the roads informing that penalty points will go onto DLs and fines of up to 1000 euros; this is also in Spain cities.
Why is the UK so slow to look how other countries deal with addicted mobile users when driving?
Using a mobile while driving and have use of a vehicle on public roads, need 6 points on their DLs, fines of up to £500 and also disqualification of DLs if usage continues. Too many people have died and too many have disabilities due to the selfish drivers who cannot exist without using their mobiles when driving.
Additional Traffic Police would be a big bonus like other countries in the world.
On my previous comment please do not show my name; pls use the name Emma.
I definitely support this approach. Use of a mobile phone or ANY distraction should be severely punished.
In my view fines should be above £500 and instant disqualification this would concentrate people’s minds.
TBF I used to get cross with this sort of legislation, but phone use at the wheel has introduced a whole extra level of ignorance amongst drivers. Texters are the worst as they genuinely don’t look where they are going.
Don’t want to get caught? Don’t do it or get hands-free (although dangers of that are now debateable).
Ban anything distracting while driving. For example, fiddling with car audio, Sat Nav, arguing with passengers, talking to passengers, children in general. Reduce speed limit everywhere to under 40mph. That lot should make us all safer.
It should be a first time caught for using mobiles £1,000 plus 3 points on the licence.
2nd offence ban for 1 year plus £2,000 fined, have a accident while using mobile 2 years PRISON. Kill someone 10 years in prison.
There is NO excuse theses days with Bluetooth hands free old cars new cars are made with Bluetooth and every driver in this country knows the for this.
P/S you can publish this if you wish to do so.
Whilst this is welcomed, I think that red light running has become worse and worse in recent years – more cameras need to be installed. My local police force – Durham – has a really laissez-faire attitude to speeding and red light running – in fact, they only have one mobile speed van to police 862 square miles of county! You rarely see a police car around and this has led to worse and worse driving.
Let the government contact the phone manufacturers and ask them to put a chip in the phone that stops all usage within 5 meter’s of an engine running, this way no cops and (sorry) no revenue , and it requires no policing,
Too easy ????
It is about time they increased the penalty for using a mobile Phone they should also confiscate the Phone that would be another few Hundred Pound they would be out of pocket.
Good and not before time but I doubt penalties won’t be up to the mark.
I hope the worse terror of speeding will be added to the action list…….80 in a 30 zone here in Dorset is really unacceptable & absolutely nothing’s done about it.
I thing anyone caught using a mobile should receive a large fine and banned from driving for 12 months it is so dangerous and can cause fatel accidentents it has to be tough to get the message home what’s wrong with hands free the hands free Bluetooth speaker can be purchased for as little as 20.00
Using a mobile phone while driving isn’t illegal, it’s using a HAND-HELD mobile phone that is illegal.
Some of us, who drive for a living, have to use our phones and data systems tondo our job.
Responsible drivers, like me use these devices mounted in well secured clamps and ONLY when it is SAFE to do so.
It’s the idiots who think they can’t live without their phones that are the ones who need educating properly.
Excellent news….I do a lot of cycling so I clearly see what drivers are doing, the amount that use their mobiles whilst driving is frightening……..also I was on the M1 near Worksop where there are 4 lanes and there was this woman driving in the 3rd lane using her mobile and driving at 40 mph….it was chaos all around her……I overtook her and carried on at 70 mph, a few miles further on she overtook me at 80 mph, obviously she’d finished whatever she was doing on her mobile….
Great news. It is a known danger to other road users and should be severely penalised. What I can never understand is why there is an outcry regarding these penalties and the measures taken to enforce such law breaking. The howls of cash cows regarding Speed Cameras are ludicrous.. There is a clear option to negating such measures: Don’t speed, wear your seat belt, don’t use a mobile ‘phone. Compliance = NO REVENUE
As it stands totally agree with the new legislation. However, would still like to see ever more harsher penalties introduced.
Why not impound the vehicle for a week, and longer for subsequent offences.
As it stands totally agree with the new legislation. However, would still like to see even more harsher penalties introduced
I really can’t believe in this day and age people need to use a phone in hand, all new cars have mobile phone connectivity, if not a new car then use the earphone/mic that comes with the phone.!!!
£200 fine is a joke, it should be at least a grand and 9 points on the licence, make it a real deterrent.
Something I do not understand, is with the technology we have today, why can’t phone manufacturers make phones that don’t operate while moving over 30mph unless connected to wifi (on a train or bus), there must be something that can be done, even car manufactures could add software to render a driver (because all new cars know which seats are occupied and seats that are not) unable to use there phone while in motion.
As I drive all over the uk I have witnessed some things that beggar belief, on many occasions I have witnessed lots of foreign truck drivers using there phones, one Romanian trucker was actually watching a film on his laptop.!!!!
I CANNOT BELIEVE IT HAS TAKEN THIS LONG TO DO SOME THING ABOUT PEOPLE USING THERE MOBILES.THIS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM WHICH HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO GET COMPLEATLY OUT OF CONTROL. IT HAS EVEN SPRED TO CYCLISTS TEXTING WHILE RIDING THEIR BIKES.PLEASE TRY AND GET THIS LAW IN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.WILL YOU PLEASE TRY AND GET INSURANCE COMPANYS TO TREAT THESE PEOPLE THE WAY THE CONVICTED DRINK DRIVERS ARE DEALT WITH. THIS WAY PEOPLE WILL STOP.
I would be the last person to advocate yet another method to stitch Britains Most Wanted – Motorists!
As with the only place I have justified for a speed camera – outside schools! I am totally in favour of this new law and the crackdown on this absolutely selfish and ignorant act of using a mobile phone whilst driving TEXT’s especially!! Personally I don’t think the penalty is harsh enough – drink driving incurred a ban that was anything from 12 months – years plus a huge fine and the DR10 on your licence for 10 years, as well as possible prison terms for those who maimed or killed whilst driving drunk!
SO – Why is this equally heinous act only carrying 6 points and a £200 fine? I could ridiculously state that at least the drunk was usually concentrating on the road and often driving OVER cautiously (usually how a lot were caught) – I’ll even at a push excuse the drivers who are using Bluetooth or hands-free, hey we can all hold a conversation in the car when there’s others on board – but having to hold a phone whilst trying to drive is a double whammy for your concentration – as for texting – I’ll stop short of asking for the death penalty ! (Just emphasising the point before sillies begin assassinating my character)
On the subject of texting or messaging whilst driving – every person who makes that DECISION to go ahead as they are so exceptional – they are literally surveying the wreckage of the lives of those poor families in Thames Valley after that goon in the truck broke them forever and kicking them repeatedly whilst they weep over the souls of the loved ones they lost that god forsaken moment!
£200 and 6 points? WOW – it’s not like the government to pass up a chance to hit us poor motorists that I am convinced would have the majority of public support!
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinion and please, just watch the video on you tube that was made by the relatives of those poor children and parents mercilessly slaughtered by the selfish act of one ‘professional’ driver (NOT!) and then, if you can still justify that must reply text without pulling over safely – then I can only wish you a safe journey back to that planet you originated from!
Lets be better than we can be !!
My opinion is that it’s about bloody time. How many times have I, as a cyclist, almost been knocked off my bike by drivers busy on their mobiles?