Should the authorities come down harder on drivers using mobile phones? The penalties might be severe, but do you think they are being sufficiently enforced?
I was on my way to work the other day when a pedestrian walked out in front of my bike, without looking. Only once I’d swerved past him could I see the other side of his face where a mobile was rammed to his ear.
He was mid-conversation, not even considering what he’d just done. I missed him by a whisker and I must have caused him to jump out of his skin. He was back on the pavement when I turned back to give him the most scornful look I could muster!
I thought his actions were pretty gormless and had I hit him, he would have been totally to blame. In London, this behaviour seems pretty much the norm. And while I’ve noticed it happening in my home town, it isn’t nearly as commonplace.
But it’s so much worse when someone in a vehicle is on their phone. Things suddenly become a whole lot more serious.
Harsh penalties for calling in your car
When we asked you about your driving bugbears, drivers using mobile phones was the second biggest irritant, taking 20% of your votes.
The act of using a hand-held mobile while driving is certainly illegal, with an automatic £60 penalty and three points on your licence if you’re caught. And if it were to go to court, the penalty could go up to £2,500 for a public service or heavy goods vehicle, or £1,000 for a car. You could also be banned from driving.
These are severe deterrents but, to me, they don’t seem to be working (from seeing so many drivers still flouting the law). Are the rules enforced? Or are drivers left to tootle along, phone clamped to ear and one hand on the wheel?
The dangers of driving on the phone
The Institute of Advanced Motorists recently published research claiming the use of mobile phones while driving is more dangerous than drink driving. Admittedly they were looking at reaction times while doing something as stupid as trying to access social networking sites, rather than simply making a call.
Frankly, it never occurred to me that anyone would try to access the internet on their smartphone while also at the controls of a car! But it seems, however daft this action might seem, the police need to look out for people trying to update Facebook on the move.
I have a couple of friends who are policemen and they’ve spoken of giving people verbal warnings about mobile use, but as far as I know they rarely actually apply any penalties.
So, should we come down harder on offenders? While most people on mobiles don’t necessarily have accidents, the risk that their negligence might cause a collision or hit someone is, in my view, too high.
Should the authorities come down harder on drivers using mobile phones?
Yes - we need more severe penalties and further enforcement (60%, 286 Votes)
Yes - the penalties are severe enough; they just need to be enforced (34%, 163 Votes)
No - the problem of drivers using mobile phones is overblown (5%, 22 Votes)
No - the penalties are just right and they're being properly enforced (2%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 483