Motorists may soon face a driving ban if caught using mobile phones at the wheel twice in three years, the Government says.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is considering a suggestion by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to endorse the licenses of people caught using phones while they are driving with six penalty points, rather than three.
Motorists are usually banned from driving if they have 12 points on their licence.
Accident figures ‘appalling’
The minister describes the number of people who are killed or seriously hurt in road traffic accidents caused by people using their mobile phones while driving as “appalling” and he says drivers are still not recognising the dangers.
Speaking to journalists at a lunch event in Westminster, Mr McLoughlin said there were 23 deaths and 74 serious injuries in road crashes in 2011 in which mobile phone use was a factor.
He says there are certain difficulties surrounding Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s idea, but something has to be done to get people to stop the practice.
Mr McLoughlin says the number of casualties on Britain’s roads is falling but there is still much to do to make them safer.
Rise in capital casualty figures
Despite the national decrease in deaths and serious injuries, the latest figures show there was an increase in casualty figures in London for the first time in 20 years, prompting Sir Bernard’s suggestion.
Hand-held use of mobile phones while driving has been against the law since 2003. This doesn’t just apply when vehicles are moving, but also when they are at traffic lights or in traffic queues.
As well as three penalty points, automatic fixed penalty notices for the offence also incur a £100 fine. If cases go to court then drivers or riders can face disqualification and up to £1,000 in fines.
According to RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister, the problem lies with the way the law is enforced, not the deterrents.
He points to research that says texting while driving has a greater impact on driver reactions than drink or drug driving.
If you have been injured in a road accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Accident Advice Helpline to see if you could make a claim for compensation.
Source: BBC News
Date Published: July 17, 2014
Author: David Brown