posted 9 months ago

Male Drivers Still Risk Lives on Phone Despite New Penalties

Number of drivers penalised for using a mobile phone, the consequences, and why some people refuse to obey the law

Crackdown on mobile phones

Scores of dangerous, thoughtless, selfish drivers risked lives using a hand-held mobile in the year since penalties doubled on March 1st 2017 – and men were the most prolific offenders, THINK!’s safety campaign suggested. 26,000 motorists fell foul including 2,000 in a week long crackdown. Of the 2,000 culprits 74% were men.

Penalties for using hand-held mobile

THINK! said motorists that use a hand-held mobile phone are “slower” to react to hazards than their more responsible, safer, counterparts. They are also “4 times more likely” to have a collision. Further consequences include a £200 fine (formerly £100) and 6 driving licence penalty points (formerly 3). Such points can:

  • Increase the cost of motor insurance
  • Equate to a ban in sufficient number (12 in 3 years for experienced motorists or 6 within 2 years of passing the test)
  • Make it harder to get certain jobs
  • Make it harder to rent a vehicle
  • Cause embarrassment

The consequences are long established, publicised, and significant so why have some drivers still not got the message? Why do they still reach for their mobile phone whilst driving? Options include:

  • Feels immune to danger
  • Calculates the probability of being caught is low
  • Contempt for the law
  • Limited interest in road safety
  • Fears consequences for (say) ignoring a message from work
  • Waiting for important, exciting or urgent news
  • Long established habit that is tricky to break

Police praise new, tougher, penalties

However, despite the number of motorists caught during the last year it seems the newer, tougher, penalties have proved beneficial.

National Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said: “In the year since the new legislation was introduced, we have seen changes in driver behaviour as the public begin to understand the impact that driving whilst using a mobile can have”.

“However, there are still far too many people underestimating the risk that they take when using their mobile phone at the wheel. It is not just about the penalty points or the fine - it is about putting safety first and keeping your eyes on the road so you don’t risk hurting or killing an innocent person”, Anthony Bangham added.

THINK! safety campaign

The THINK! safety campaign spans multiple platforms. Social media and radio, for instance. Youtube hosts a series of thought provoking films, too. One incorporates comments from the families of people killed by motorists on a mobile. “Everything died that day because that man decided to pick up a phone”, a lady explained.