Road Safety News

Mobile phone motorists 'should get six points': Met Police commissioner

Wednesday 25th April 2012

Motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving should receive six penalty points to deter them from flouting the law, according to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Telegraph).

Bernard Hogan-Howe says that the current punishment of three penalty points and a £60 fine is not a strong enough deterrent for drivers. By increasing the punishment to six points, drivers would be banned from the road if they were caught twice for the offence within three years.

Writing on the Met Police website, the commissioner said this would make drivers take the law on driving while on the phone more seriously, and improve road safety.

Asked during a live webchat why so many people still seemed to be getting away with using mobile phones behind the wheel, Mr Hogan-Howe replied: “Many people do not get away with it and get a fine and three points on their licence.

“I would like to see them receive six points in the future. That would mean a second offence would lead to them being banned and I believe this would change driving behaviour and improve safety.”

Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said: “The vast majority of drivers know that they should not use a mobile while driving. To ensure that the penalty for using a mobile at the wheel acts as an effective deterrent to drivers, we are increasing the fine for the offence from £60 to between £80 and £100 later this year.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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Vehicle manufacturers should stop scrimping and start installing safety features in all the vehicles they build. If they included bluetooth handsfree as standard everybody would use it, even if a person was not aware of how bluetooth works, somebody could easily show them when picking up their new vehicle. Most phones even older ones have bluetooth. ABS,airbags, central locking and all the other standard bits and bobs are now in place even in small cars so this has to be added to the list. Won't solve it all but I think it would get us most of the way there!
J Curnick South London

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

I listened to the Nick Freeman interview on BBC Radio 5 Live last week (cringe) and it seems he and others like him manage to get their paying 'customers' off if they can prove they were using the mobile phone (at the time of detection) for a non interactive discussion? Recording a joke or similar?... sloppy Road Traffic Law just makes the job of the police impossible when it comes to roads enforcement, whilst at the same time lines the pockets of smart solicitors!

Education, education, education - but where is all the road safety education money? Er....oh yeah...that all got slashed in the cuts!

Regrettably short sighted transport policy making!
Susan, Northamptonshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

There are far more serious offences committed and never located, these being due the roads not being policed as they should be. Another point is that the TV series of road policing even shows officers using mobiles which are on their uniforms. So,its OK for them but not for others. The problem is that they do not have the manpower to police the roads and rely on cameras to generate finances from the drivers who are at least competent. I would welcome every other vehicle being an unmarked RPU but of course this will never happen, but I see more agressive driving every time I am on the roads which is never detected by those who should doing their job of making the roads safer.
reg oliver

Agree (5) | Disagree (5)

I would like to see a technological solution to this one. How will this solution differentiate between the driver using the phone - illegally - and passengers using their phones - legally? Until technology can solve that one, a combination of publicity, education and enforcement is the only answer.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

I like the idea of an increase in the fine and penalty points to 6. I have been reading recently that some insurance companies already are not quoting if you have a CU80 offence on your driving licence, there are many more who are now loading the premium by up to 40% if you have that offence. This means that for three years having this offence on your licence will cost the driver hundreds of pounds more on their insurance. I think this has to be emphasised as well. However, there needs to be a deterrent in the vehicle to stop the use of texting and emailing and you might see leading fleets and insurance companies comply with the new technology. This device will allow parents and transport managers control over the use of mobile phones used in the vehicle. The device is just launched and will control and prevent.
John McCall Edinburgh

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)

We talk about evidence based decision making - however gathering the evidence on how many crashes are attributable to mobile phone use is difficult. It seems to me that the illegal use of mobile phones is similar to how long it took us to respond to combatting drink driving, and talking or texting on a mobile has similar effects in terms of response rates. I am a fan of significant fines and penalties. They are a voluntary scheme. Police do respond to the weight an offence is given. As an ex police officer I gave less tickets for trivial offences and focussed on more serious ones.
Mark Kerle

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

Would the technology of mobiles phones be adaptable to discerning when they are being used in a car and switching them off? Besides this idea I think the ONLY route is through good citizen driving education from the beginning in schools - like they have in North America.
anna briggs

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

Police time should not be wasted on this - an intelligent solution is required. We should be encouraging this approach:

not the primitive (and relatively useless) one being suggested here.
Andrew Fraser

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)

Before anyone else says it:

What we need is more officers on the roads acting as a deterrent and increasing the chances of detection, not just for mobile phone use but for all motoring offences and bad driving behaviours. Just making the punishment greater is unlikely to have a significant effect on its own.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (18) | Disagree (2)

Up to 0.17% of fatal or serious injury collisions could be prevented if these increased penalties are successful at completely eliminating all hand held mobile use while driving, but only if drivers don't just switch to legal hands-free. Is the penalty increase in preparation for hypothecation?
Dave Finney - Slough

Agree (3) | Disagree (5)

I totally agree with the Commissioner. During his time here on Merseyside when I had the honour and pleasure to meet him on several occasions I was immediately impressed by his down to earth frankness, openness, honesty, approachability, integrity, common sense, intellect and commitment. Our local force was already very proactive in roads policing but he made it an immediate priority when he took the reins up here. It is very much to Bernard Hogan-Howe's great credit that road safety is still taken so seriously by Merseyside Police. My old home town of London is benefiting from our loss.
David Midmer, Grade 6 ADI, RoadPeace, Wirral

Agree (13) | Disagree (4)