22nd January 2016
At present the standard fine for using a mobile phone whilst driving is £100 and 3 motoring conviction points. However the government wants to increase the punishment in order to make the act a taboo similar to driving without a seatbelt.
A survey by the RAC included in its annual Motoring Report (2015) revealed that other drivers using mobile phones was the top concern of motorists over the past year. From those surveyed 8% named it as their number one anxiety whilst driving and 34% of motorists said it was in their top 4 concerns. This was followed by 7% of people who were most worried about other drivers without car insurance or tax and then 5% who were bothered most by traffic congestion.
In 2014 the use of a mobile phone whilst driving was responsible for 21 fatal accidents and 84 serious incidents. To reduce this the law could change that will see persistent culprits being fined £150 instead of £100 and also given 4 motoring conviction points instead of 3.
Statistics show that between 1 and 2% of drivers frequently use a mobile device when they are driving. A majority (83%) think that it is completely unacceptable to drive whilst using a mobile device; however 12% believe it is reasonable and 17% think there is no harm in it whilst stationary.
“The RAC Report on Motoring this year showed motorists are increasingly worried about other drivers being distracted by mobile phones whilst at the wheel. There is still a surprising number of motorists who think it is acceptable to take a short call with a hand-held mobile whilst driving – it isn’t, and it is a real danger." RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams
However many of those that took part in the RAC survey believe that the greater punishment will have no effect without greater police presence. From those asked, 79% said that the greater punishment will have no effect without proper enforcement and 62% believed there were not enough police on the roads at the moment to put the changes into effect.
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