February 16, 2016
Calls for tougher punishments on phone users answered 0
If you are one of the guilty few who just can’t stop tweeting even when you’re behind the wheel, you might find yourself a caged bird soon.
Plans to toughen up the punishments for phone users behind the wheel are looking likely to become a reality, with the government looking to raise the minimum fine from £100 to £150, and to bump up the number of penalty points for each offence.
The fixed penalty fee for phone related driving offences was raised from £60 to £100 in 2013. This was clearly not enough of a deterrent for many drivers, so the logical solution is to keep upping the ante until figures drop. There are campaigns in schools and the sometimes-graphic TV adverts but people seem to think one little text won’t harm, despite being four times more likely to be in accident if you are using a Smartphone whilst driving and having 50% slower reaction times. We all know the risks of using a phone whilst driving, but for some the allure of social media/texting is just too much, with a total of 285 drivers stopped by police in a phone sting back in February 2015, proving a record high over seven days. These were just figures from a small operation aimed at highlighting the continuous rise in phone use by drivers, so national figures must be alarming.
By increasing the fine, the hopes are initially to hit the worst offenders, the younger generation, where it will hurt them most; their bank balances. The increase in penalty points sends a no-nonsense warning. Currently, a 3 point penalty is occurred, meaning drivers have up to 4 offences before losing their license. By changing the penalty points to 4, or even 6 as some are pushing for, the likelihood of losing one’s license after repeatedly offending becomes almost inevitable. This, a spokesperson for the Government when asked about the proposed changes, is the point of the reforms. They do not want to overly punish first time offenders but to come down hard on those who repeatedly offend and show no care for other road users.”
We love our phone, okay; we’ll be the first to admit it. We check it first thing in the morning. We check it last thing at night. We check it when we should be working… sometimes. We understand the obsession, but no Kardashian selfie is worth a car accident. There is nothing smart about a smartphone behind the wheel.