Call for even tougher action on drivers who use mobiles at wheel

Calls have been made to take more action against drivers who use their phone while behind the wheel.
Calls have been made to take more action against drivers who use their phone while behind the wheel.
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Harsher action has been demanded after it was announced first time offenders found to be using their phone behind the wheel will not be able to avoid getting points.

Drivers caught using their mobile will no longer be able to take a remedial course in return for not having their licence endorsed with points under the plans announced by the Department of Transport (DfT).

Should be the same as drinking driving, one year ban with a minimum fine of £1,000, then made to retake their test.

Keith Hope

A number of police forces currently offer workshops to educate motorists about the dangers of making a call while they are behind the wheel.

But the DfT believes this is not a tough enough measure to deter people from answering while they are driving or to change their future behaviour.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she wants to make the offence as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

The plan was announced in the DfT’s response to a consultation on the punishments handed out to motorists caught using a hand-held phone.

The document confirmed the Government’s intention to double the fine from £100 to £200 and increase the penalty points from three to six, which first emerged in September.

It comes after the jailing of trucker Tomasz Kroker, who was scrolling through music on his phone just before he ploughed into stationary traffic on the A34 in Berkshire, killing Tracy Houghton, 45, her sons Ethan, 13, and 11-year-old Josh, and step-daughter Aimee Goldsmith, 11.

However, some say the move is not enough and have called for tougher measures.

Keith Hope, posting on the Gazette’s Facebook page, said: “Should be the same as drinking driving, one year ban with a minimum fine of £1,000, then made to retake their test.”

Tammy Reed added: “I’ve said it before.
“Fine, points, ban and a sentence.
“The amount of people who use phones and try to drive is ridiculous.”

Steve Wilson suggested: “What’s wrong with 15 points - so straight ban - and a £5,000 fine?

“Might actually deter people, like the bloke who drifted into my lane and nearly hit me last night.”

Brian Cawkwell posted: “Phone should be turned off by a system in the car that deactivates phones when the key in the car.”

Vince Olsen said: “Loads of people drive around South Shields on their phones.
“Just hang around a bus stop and you’ll see about 20% of drivers messing with their phones.”

Emma Davey wrote: “Straight up ban and prison,” while Lee Payn said: “Joke.

“Instant ban for me.”