Road users caught texting or chatting on their mobile phones could soon face a six point penalty to their license, double the current 3 point limit currently issued by the Police right now.
The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin is said to be seriously considering the penalty increase that would span across the UK’s roads. This comes after the number of injuries and deaths from dangerous driving increased for the first time in over ten years.
With the continued development of smartphones as a technological reliance, it’s easy to understand why the mobile ban was brought in back in 2003, but it seems like a 3 point penalty still isn’t enough to deter some of the more ‘addicted’ road users.
Research based in UK has concluded that texting, tweeting or chatting on the phone is actually more dangerous that driving over the drink-drive limit or being high from cannabis use, mainly because drivers will have their gaze drawn from the road whilst having one hand off the steering wheel.
This increase in penalty would mean getting caught twice by police would be enough for you to receive a driving ban, which can vary from a matter of months to several years depending on the offence itself and if multiple offences have occurred.
Hands-free calling is still legal in current laws, but it is still seen as having a dramatic effect on concentration behind the wheel, with some groups calling for such calls to also be made illegal.
The main issue that comes with the penalty is drivers not being caught, with many road-users fully aware of the law, but still using their phones after checking for nearby Police Officers, something which doesn't happen with drink-driving.
In fact, drink-driving has now become a stigma across the UK, with many passengers and other road users quick to berate drinkerss who attempt to drive whilst intoxicated, something that is yet to happen to mobile users at the wheel.
McLoughlin feels that enforcing further penalties is currently the only way of tackling the issue effectively:
“The person using their phone doesn't realise the damage or the danger they can be in. It ends up ruining different people's lives – those who are driving as well as those who are injured.
“There could be some difficulties about it but I think we've got to get that message across to people about safety”.
Of course, enforcing the law will rely on Police Officers being more prevalent on Britain’s roads, or by having CCTV or speed cameras focus on trying to nab mobile users whilst they commit any offence.
But with the general use of mobile phones growing, it’s looking like a tough job to try and get mobile users off their phones if they don’t think they’re going to get caught red handed.
The increase in penalty won’t be likely to become official until sometime next year, as the red tape surrounding the changes is expected to be fairly substantial.
Written by Luke Hatfield