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Safety organisations welcome increased punishments for using a phone while driving

Wednesday 09 November 2016, By Autovolo

Safety organisations welcome increased punishments for using a phone while driving

Safety organisations welcome increased punishments for using a phone while driving

The government’s decision to crack down on motorists using phones behind the wheel has met with approval from road safety organisations.

GEM Motoring Assist and the RAC have both welcomed yesterday’s announcement, which will see anyone who is caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving face a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “We absolutely must create an environment where drivers take more responsibility for their actions. Research has made clear that talking on a hand-held mobile phone greatly increases someone’s risk of being involved in a crash.

“We want to see publicity campaigns setting out the dangers – and the costs – for those who may still regard mobile phone use as acceptable when driving. Let’s also call for a more responsible attitude from the people they may be speaking to. If you know you’re talking to someone who’s driving, then tell them to call back when it’s safe.

“We would also welcome innovations in enforcement technology, so that police officers really can make a difference in pushing right down the number of people willing to take such unnecessary risks when driving.”

Meanwhile, the RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams, was also vocal in his support of the measure.

 “We welcome stiffer penalties for handheld mobile phone use and believe this will send a very strong message to motorists,” he said.

“From 2017 taking a short call at the wheel or quickly checking your texts will have far greater consequences, particularly for anyone with existing points on their licence as they will suddenly be much closer to having their licence taken away. For new drivers a prosecution will mean instant disqualification as they only need six points within two years of gaining their licence to have it revoked by the DVLA.”

Williams said organisations need to take responsibility for their failure to stigmatise the use of phones behind the wheel.

“The Government, police, road safety and motoring organisations must accept some responsibility for failing to encourage motorists to change their behaviour and make handheld mobile phone use as socially unacceptable as drink-driving since it was made illegal in 2003,” he commented.

“It has been allowed to go on for too long and we now need to send a shockwave out there and encourage any drivers still flouting the law to go cold turkey on handheld mobile phone use.”