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[UK] Drivers who use mobile phones face jail

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by pro-pilot, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/20/nmobile120.xml

    Motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving could be jailed for two years under tough new guidelines issued today by prosecutors.
    Drivers who adjust sat-navs, tinker with MP3 music players such as iPods or send text messages at the wheel could also face prison sentences.
    Police [b]now check mobile phone records after road collisions to see if the driver was making a call[/b]
    Prosecutions will be brought if by using the equipment a motorist is judged to have posed a danger to other drivers, such as causing another car to swerve.
    Using a hand-held mobile while driving was outlawed in 2003, but it is estimated that half a million motorists flout the ban each day.
    Existing guidelines restricted prosecutors to pursuing only a charge of careless driving, for which the maximum fine is £5,000 along with up to nine points on a motorist's licence.
    But under the new rules, drivers could be charged with dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
    advertisementIt is believed that by increasing the penalties, drivers will start to take the law seriously.
    "This sends a clear message to motorists: don't mix driving and communicating, just as you would not drink and drive," said Rob Gifford, of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
    "This is long overdue. At last the law has caught up with the reality of the road, with too many people using their phone while driving."
    But Paul Biggs, a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said: "This does seem over the top. I would never condone using a hand-held mobile and would never do it myself. But existing laws cover it and there are plenty of other things which are distracting."
    The new guidelines mean prosecutors will be able to go for a dangerous driving charge, which carries the punishment of an unlimited fine as well as a two-year jail term.
    In addition, drivers who kill while using mobile phones could be charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a 14-year jail term. In extreme cases they could be charged with manslaughter for which a life term can be imposed.
    A new offence of causing death by careless driving is to be created under the Road Safety Act, due to come into force early next year.
    The new guidelines follow a consultation by the Crown Prosecution Service on the policy it should adopt on dealing with cases of "bad driving" brought before the courts.
    Using a hand-held mobile was made illegal in 2003, when the penalty was limited to a £30 fine, but it acted as little deterrent and the latest figures show that in 2005 129,700 motorists still flouted the ban.
    In February the law was toughened, with drivers facing a £60 fine and three points on their licence.
    Drivers were also warned that similar penalties could be imposed for using a hands-free device if they were judged not to be in control of their car.
    Police now check mobile phone records after accidents to see if the driver was making a call at the time.
    Research by TRL, formerly the Government's Transport Research Laboratory, has suggested that half a million drivers a day make calls on hand-held mobiles.
    Ministers are keen to take an even stronger line after figures showed that mobile phones were linked to 13 fatal accidents in 2005 and 52 serious crashes.
    Andrew Howard, of the AA, said drivers using a phone make a decision that falls far below the standard of a reasonable driver. "They have crossed the threshold from careless to dangerous driving. These guidelines make that clear."
  2. Should be immediate licence suspension for a month for first offence and increase after that. They must have too much space in their jail system in the UK, coz ours certainly couldn't handle it.
  3. Lets hope that it starts out here also! Get the selfish pricks off the road.
  4. it does say a maximum of 2yrs gaol. That doesn't mean everyone will get gaol time, but you can bet that it would have more of an impact on potential users than a fine.

    The hardcore wimmens in their hundy excels won't change though.
  5. Why does it have to be so hard to stop this dangerous activity. Simple. Pull over the person who was driving and using the phone, take the vehicle and phone off them, then and there for 1 month. It gets extended each time. Doesn't matter whether the car or phone belongs to them, the company they work for, a hire car, government bus, taxi etc... Let these people then work out the cost lost to their company, business etc and deal with it themselves.
    Think about it: the local bus driver gets caught using his/her phone while in the bus. The bus gets taken off the company for 1 month. The driver gets a nice little bill from the bus company, probably loses his job, and then to top it all off he/she has no phone to ring for a new job.
    Think they might learn? Probably a good chance they will.
  6. So using a phone is more dangerous than drinking a hot coffee, or eating, or trying to chastise the children in the back seat??? I'm not justifying the use of phones in cars, especially when sending text messages, (long-time hands-free user here) but there's a whole range of things people do in cars that distract; mobile phone use is just a soft target for the law enforcement brigade.
  7. maybe an on-the-spot fine and/or confiscation of your vehicle for chastising rowdy back seat kids? Make mum walk the kids home too :LOL:

    It's an interesting concept but how policed is mobile phone usage anyway? Not very. I know plenty of people who use their phones while driving regardless, and only one occasion of anyone being booked for it.
  8. I reckon having a law to book people post crash is a good idea, much like the laws on drug-driving (including prescription) that have been introduced in some states here. Be interesting if the proposed UK phone laws also affected insurance, might be more effective as a deterrent than a possible jail term. Of course not everyone considers the consequences of their actions so I doubt it would solve the problem entirely.
  9. They need to make something to disable phones not in hands free in the car, which is obviously difficult, as well as the problem of passengers still being able to use them, but it would be the perfect solution.

    I saw 4 drivers on the phone today driving to Wbee and back home.

    And I'm with you dlb, I see people everywhere using and don't know of a single person who has been booked. :? :roll:
  10. I disagree, if you look at the age demographics of our society, then it is quite obvious that every age bracket uses phones whereas people who have children and are distracted by them in the car are less common in comparison. Drinking coffee, eating etc is also an underlying factor however it maybe possible to eat or drink quicker than send a txt msg or call someone. Ill try and dig up some stats.
  11. if you dont have the mental capacity to take a sip of a drink while driving, and stay focussed on the road, you dont deserve to be on the road, Hornet.

    using a mobile phone (engaging in communication) requires you to actively think and concentrate on the conversation at hand (excuse the pun), it is not a simple motor skill such as lifting your hand and swallowing.

    if your refering to the danger of drinking hot liquids and risking spills -> distraction, then ignore what i just wrote. but since you mention eating, i assume you simply mean the act of drinking too.

    yes there is a whole other list of dangerous activities whilst driving, but if harsher laws can eliminate even just one of them, seeing i see that many people using their phones whilst driving, then it will make me a happy camper.
  12. nibor, having held a car license since 1968 and a bike licence since 1974, I thought it would have been obvious that I was not talking about myself but theorising about driving conduct in general.

    I have no problem with laws to curb dangerous behaviour in cars, but the statistics for the last couple of years (not the Police fudged ones, but the real figures, obtained under FOI in NSW), show that the present laws are not being enforced in comparison with other offences, nor in proportion to the stated frequency of the offences. If the Police want more powers just for the sake of having more powers, then I object strenuously; let them police the existing laws first and thereby prove that the offence is indeed dangerous by cutting down on accidents by cutting down on its practice.