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6,000 drivers fined for mobile phone use in March after penalties doubled

Campaigners say safety message still isn't getting through...

A police crackdown on the illegal use of handheld devices while driving saw nearly 6,000 motorists hit with new penalties of a £200 fine and six penalty points on their driving licences – a rate of around 200 people a day.

Campaigners saying that drivers are still not deterred from breaking the law.

The figures, which cover Great Britain, were obtained by the Press Association under a Freedom of Information request, reports BBC News.

The introduction of stiffer penalties – previously, drivers were subject to a £100 fine and three penalty points – was accompanied by extensive national and local publicity.

A number of police forces inviting the press along to events coinciding with the launch where law-breaking motorists were caught and fined.

> Drivers ignore tougher mobile phone penalties as police across Great Britain launch crackdowns

The new laws also see motorists found using a phone within two years of passing their driving test have their licence revoked.

But Steve Gooding off the RAC Foundation said the figures showed that the "key message still isn't sinking in.

"Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen.”

Road safety charity Brake said that the increased penalties were still not enough to deter some motorists from breaking the law.

Its spokesman Jack Kushner said: "Driver distraction is a growing menace and it's worrying that drivers don't seem to be getting the message.”.

Research by road.cc published last year showed that in England and Wales in the whole of 2015, just 16,861 fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers caught using a handheld device at the wheel – a tenth of the number fined for the same offence a decade earlier.

> Number of drivers fined for using mobile phone plummets

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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15 comments

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burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes

There can't be anyone who isn't aware that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and illegal, the question is how to stop them. 

There are two elements to prevent dangerous behaviour: the chances of getting caught and the punishment.  Currently the chances of getting caught are very low, because a certain Home Secretary (currently PM) thought that we didn't need traffic cops any more, and the punishment is still derisory.

We need many more traffic police and the punishment needs to be much more severe.  Previous governments have a lot to answer for, as they knew that mobile driving was equivalent to drink driving but set the punishment much lower, so it wasn't viewed as seriously as drink driving.  Now so many people do it and get away with it, it is going to be very difficult to stop.  If they had initially treated it as seriously as drink driving we wouldn't have the problem now.  The government was told this at the time but ignored it.

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
4 likes

Went in work colleague's new RS Fiesta the other day......centre console is a BIG fucking screen full of infoshite. As has been mentioned, no wonder people are distracted. Also know a guy that works for BMW and he was on about the new launch cars and it's going to be about your car linking to your central heating etc. Sorry I ran you over, needed to turn the shower on. Sorry again.

Too much of modern life is turning into the equivalent of that daft bollocks on here a few months ago, where you've got a bluetooth phone bell or whatever.

 

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Edgeley | 6 years ago
2 likes

I bet 95% of the people caught were stationary and in traffic queues, and picked up by a roadside copper.   The people we desperately need to catch are those who are checking their phones while moving - and the chances of getting caught then are negligible.

We need more traffic police.

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Hypoxic | 6 years ago
0 likes

Great road iniciative. Not working? Patience. It takes time to get messages through to the public. 100% of people didn't comply with seatbelt laws the day it was introduced and after all these decades I'm sure you'll still find some not complying. There always seems to be a "logical" justification to these events in people's minds... "Oh, it's only a quick trip down to the shops and there are no cars around at this time of day" or "Oh, it was just a very quick call to tell my daughter where I'll pick her up".

When an accident happens, it's obvious that it was a gross lapse of judgement but that's what risky behaviour is all about.

Keep the fines going, keep increasing them. How about treating them the same as drink drivers? It is afterall a totally avoidable gross interference in your ability to control a 1-5 tonne potential weapon. Surely that's a crime?

Like the campaign against smoking, studies continue to show that changing people's behaviour is all about how costly a risky behaviour can be to them. Immediate versus later cost is also far easier to comprehend.

Most humans (and all animals) are ego junkies. Civilisation is a slow process of enforcing behaviour which is initially "unnatural" to many but hopefully becomes the norm.

Avatar
oldstrath replied to Hypoxic | 6 years ago
1 like
Hypoxic wrote:

Great road iniciative. Not working? Patience. It takes time to get messages through to the public. 100% of people didn't comply with seatbelt laws the day it was introduced and after all these decades I'm sure you'll still find some not complying. There always seems to be a "logical" justification to these events in people's minds... "Oh, it's only a quick trip down to the shops and there are no cars around at this time of day" or "Oh, it was just a very quick call to tell my daughter where I'll pick her up".

When an accident happens, it's obvious that it was a gross lapse of judgement but that's what risky behaviour is all about.

Keep the fines going, keep increasing them. How about treating them the same as drink drivers? It is afterall a totally avoidable gross interference in your ability to control a 1-5 tonne potential weapon. Surely that's a crime?

Like the campaign against smoking, studies continue to show that changing people's behaviour is all about how costly a risky behaviour can be to them. Immediate versus later cost is also far easier to comprehend.

Most humans (and all animals) are ego junkies. Civilisation is a slow process of enforcing behaviour which is initially "unnatural" to many but hopefully becomes the norm.

Surely it is exactly like drink driving, and should be, but isn't,  treated with the same level of seriousness. It ought to be easier to prevent, but even without the technology a proper effort could see similar substantial reductions.

No it isn't like not wearing a seat belt or smoking (in private). Someone wants to kill themselves in a collision or by smoking, that's entirely their business. Similarly an idiot with a phone drives into a tree and kills himself, that's fine. Unfortunately he's more likely to kill me. That's the point at which I care.

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Daveyraveygravey | 6 years ago
5 likes

The ads for cars feature connectivity and the Internet - is it any wonder people are distracted? I don't have sat nav in my car, and when I drove my boss' car with sat nav the other day I nearly crashed. Cars should have blockers to prevent phone use and even fiddling with buttons unless stationary, it can't be that hard. Mind you, I think you shouldn't ride a bike with headphones because of the distraction, never mind the noise...

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
9 likes

200 every day across the whole nation, is this some sort of fucking joke?

you could catch that many at any single junction in any large town or city in a few hours.

Police are too bothered pulling over kids for riding on one wheel obviously.

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brooksby | 6 years ago
5 likes

"Campaigners say safety message still not getting through" ... You think?? Basically, everyone thinks  that bad drivers are all the *other* drivers; that they are safely using their phone unavoidably, but that all those other ne'er do wells  are just being irresponsible.

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ianrobo replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

"Campaigners say safety message still not getting through" ... You think?? Basically, everyone thinks  that bad drivers are all the *other* drivers; that they are safely using their phone unavoidably, but that all those other ne'er do wells  are just being irresponsible.

just like congestion is always someone else's fault ?

Avatar
brooksby replied to ianrobo | 6 years ago
7 likes
ianrobo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

"Campaigners say safety message still not getting through" ... You think?? Basically, everyone thinks  that bad drivers are all the *other* drivers; that they are safely using their phone unavoidably, but that all those other ne'er do wells  are just being irresponsible.

just like congestion is always someone else's fault ?

Exactly. Nobody ever admits that their own journey is frivolous or a waste of resources: it's all those *other* people who are causing congestion by not taking public transportation, cycling, or walking.

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ianrobo | 6 years ago
3 likes

and this is only the tip of one massive iceberg, if the police had the resources then you could easly increase this by ten if not more. The penalities are not strict enough, anyone caught - 3 month ban ... that would work.

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alansmurphy replied to ianrobo | 6 years ago
2 likes
ianrobo wrote:

and this is only the tip of one massive iceberg, if the police had the resources then you could easly increase this by ten if not more. The penalities are not strict enough, anyone caught - 3 month ban ... that would work.

 

Ooooh 3 month mobile phone ban, that would blow their minds!

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Metaphor | 6 years ago
2 likes

Why do the Police not taser them?

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crazy-legs replied to Metaphor | 6 years ago
10 likes
Ramuz wrote:

Why do the Police not taser them?

I would help if there were actually any roads police out there to catch them. Numbers cut by over 25% in the last few years though.

Basically, people know they can get away with it. You can set the punishment at whatever you want - public tasering if that's what you want - but it still needs someone to catch them in the first place.

Avatar
Grahamd replied to crazy-legs | 6 years ago
0 likes
crazy-legs wrote:
Ramuz wrote:

Why do the Police not taser them?

I would help if there were actually any roads police out there to catch them. Numbers cut by over 25% in the last few years though.

Basically, people know they can get away with it. You can set the punishment at whatever you want - public tasering if that's what you want - but it still needs someone to catch them in the first place.

The sceptic in me thinks that this how the labour manifesto worked out how they would fund 10,000 more police.

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