Government Considers Tough New Penalty
The Government is considering increasing the penalty for using a hand-held mobile behind the wheel so a perpetrator is banned if caught twice in three years. As things stand, a motorist receives a one-hundred pound fine and three penalty points (unless the case is taken to court where the penalty can be higher). The proposal is to increase the points to six. This – as a driver is typically banned after receiving twelve points – would ensure that a two strikes and you are our rules applies. A newly qualified driver could be banned immediately as he/she only has to have six points. This proposal is backed by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe - the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – following the first increase in deaths/injuries from dangerous driving in the capital for more than a decade. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin explained that he is considering a change as the: "amounts of casualties there have been are absolutely appalling". He told journalists that a: “person using their phone doesn't realise the danger they can be in”. Using a hand-held mobile: “ends up ruining different people's lives”, Mr McLoughlin added. The Transport Secretary concluded that despite a national fall in the number of road deaths and injuries in recent years: “one death is one to many”.
Motorists Ignorant Of The Law
It has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile behind the wheel since 2003. This includes while the vehicle is stationary in traffic (if the engine is switched on). Since this time more than one million people have been convicted. The consequences of being caught can be serious – even if nobody is hurt - as penalty points can increase the cost of motor insurance, make it harder to find employment and rent a vehicle, etc. Despite the consequences a large proportion of drivers claim ignorance of the law. An RAC survey has, therefore, revealed that twelve percent do no know it is illegal to text behind the wheel. Twenty-one percent are unaware they cannot check social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is, therefore, not surprising that fifty-three percent of drivers see others texting while stationary “half or some of their journeys”. Twenty-nine percent witness this offence “most journeys”. Furthermore, seventy-five percent report “regularly” seeing people talking on a hand-held mobile. Forty-four percent see this during “most” of their journeys. The proposed law – assuming it is enforced by the police – would ensure that this illegal and dangerous pass time becomes much more expensive.