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In the run-up to Christmas, police forces up and down the country will be making a concerted effort to clamp down on motorists who use their mobiles while driving.
Using unmarked vehicles, helmet cameras and high vantage points, dedicated police offers will be targeting those who text, make calls or use social media while on the road. Road signs will also be used to educate drivers and other road users about the risks and consequences of mobile phone use at the wheel.
An RAC report published in September revealed that the number of drivers illegally using their mobiles was rising. Last year, just under a third of motorists said that they had used their phone at the wheel; in 2014, this figure was just 8%.
According to the Department for Transport, in 2015, a driver who has impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 440 road traffic accidents, including 22 fatal and 99 serious incidents.
Earlier this month, in order to tackle this serious issue, the government announced plans to enforce new, stricter penalties for the offence. Currently, mobile phone users who are caught are fined £100 and receive 3 licence penalty points. From next year, however, offenders will receive 6 points and a fine of £200.
The proposals aim to make ‘driving distracted’ as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. It is hoped that this, in turn, will make the roads safer for all users and reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur. Prime Minister Theresa May commented on the changes:
“We need people to realise the tragedy they can inflict in a fleeting moment and stop people using a mobile when their eyes and mind should be on the road and their hands on the wheel.”
The sentence should fit the crime for those who kill or seriously injure on our roads and it should deter other drivers from causing needless harm just for the sake of taking a call or sending a text.”
Between 21st and 27th November, road safety charity Brake will be educating road users about the dangers of mobile phone use as part of Road Safety Week. According to Brake, drivers who perform a secondary task while at the wheel are three times more likely to crash than drivers who aren’t distracted. Throughout the week, the charity will be working with individuals, businesses and schools across the country, aiming to raise awareness about the steps that everyone can take to make our roads safer.
If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident through no fault of your own, in which mobile phone use was a contributory factor, you might be entitled to claim compensation. The road traffic accident specialists at Jefferies can help. Get in touch with our friendly team by calling 0800342 3206 or filling in the online enquiry form above.
Published on 16th November 2016.