Road Safety News

ACPO lead calls for tougher mobile phone penalties

Monday 2nd March 2015

ACPO’s lead for roads policing has told the BBC that she believes tougher penalties are required for drivers using mobile phones, but the issue is being avoided by politicians because of the upcoming General Election.

Suzette Davenport, who is also Gloucestershire’s chief constable, told the BBC that any increase in punishments for drivers caught "would not be popular" – and with an election in a little over two months the Government is “keen to avoid such unhelpful changes”.

CC Davenport told the BBC: "My view is that if someone is caught twice using a mobile phone within a period of time we should be considering things like disqualifications for short periods of time. I believe if we don't do something fundamentally different we are going to lose this."

CC Davenport’s comments come in the wake of data published last week by the DfT which shows that drivers are now more likely to be using their phone for texting and social media, rather than making a call.

In response to CC Davenport’s claims, Robert Goodwill, road safety minister, suggested the onus is on police chiefs to devote more resources to detecting drivers using mobile phones.

Robert Goodwill told the BBC: "I've certainly not had representations from colleagues saying, 'Don't do this, because of the election'.

"I may have had colleagues saying, 'Don't do this, because we need to think about the actual numbers of people we catch'.

"Because, as with any offence, the penalty is part of the story but getting caught is the other part of the story. And I think it's important that police and crime commissioners and chief constables look at the resources they put into this, as opposed to other more easy-to-detect crimes like speeding."


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I'll go with that one, Chris. But will they?
Nigel ALBRIGHT, Taunton.

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

You don't need to be Roads Policing (Traffic) to police the roads, certainly not for this type of offence as no technical knowledge is required. We need to encourage all police officers to police the roads.
Chris Gloucestershire

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

Good idea, of course, but no good at all unless you have the police officers (traffic men (and women, of course)) on the ground to take action. In my view that is the real reason why the current penalties are ineffective.
Nigel ALBRIGHT, Taunton.

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

Now that's a new one. Politics getting in the way of road safety and the wellbeing of the public that they serve, because it's inappropriate at this time. Nice one. Also admitted was that it would appear to be unpopular and therefore let's fudge and delay the issue for the moment and deal with it at a more appropriate time.
Bob Craven Lancs.. Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Perhaps points and fines for traffic offences are no longer enough of a deterent for some, especially if they bank on somehow wriggling out of it - vehicle seizure does have more of an immediate effect. This is possible now for anti-social driving - which is arguably subjective - but not for more 'black and white' offences.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (4)