Tough new penalties for drivers who commit mobile phone offences must work - lives depend on it

What does it take to stop selfish motorists using mobile phones while driving?

Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 1:23 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:11 am
Police are clamping down on drivers who use their mobile behind the wheel

A fine, penalty points, or the horrific death of three children and their mum?

Trucker Tomasz Kroker killed a mother and her three young children after ploughing into their stationary car as he scrolled through his mobile phone.

It was a tragedy as horrific as it was needless.

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But it had little effect on drivers who flout the law every day in the mistaken belief that they are somehow immune from any consequences.

The dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel are obvious and well-documented, yet drivers continue to take liberties ... and lives.

Last year, drivers distracted by their phones were a contributory factor in 440 accidents, including 22 which were fatal.

These shocking Government figures are just the tip of the iceberg. In a nationwide police crackdown on illegal mobile phone-use behind the wheel in just one week in November, almost 8,000 drivers were handed penalty notices.

It is the equivalent of 47 offences every hour.

From today, the penalties just got higher. For the majority of people, it’s not before time.

The fines have now been doubled to £200, with offenders facing six penalty points on their licence.

For newly qualified drivers those six points will mean they could be banned from the roads.

Tough? Not tough enough, say our readers.

An online poll conducted ahead of the new rules coming into force showed that the majority wanted stronger sentences for mobile phone offenders.

For the moment we can only hope the new rules have the desired effect. Lives will depend on it.