New phone fine does not go far enough

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

In my mad­der mo­ments I have an in­ven­tion that sees car driv­ers able to raise a warn­ing against an­other driver. If that driver gets three warn­ing lights on one jour­ney... his ve­hi­cle au­to­mat­i­cally pulls into the next avail­able ser­vice sta­tion and he has to watch a tu­to­rial and an­swer rel­e­vant ques­tions be­fore be­ing al­lowed to set off again. And penalty points are au­to­mat­i­cally added to his li­cence and a size­able fine taken from his bank – ide­ally in­stantly by di­rect debit.

This might seem a tad ex­treme, but some­times ter­ri­ble driv­ing kills peo­ple and should not be taken lightly. Of course there are more ac­cepted pun­ish­ments cur­rently used and it’s great to see that one of the road’s great­est per­ils is at­tract­ing a tougher penalty from next year. Us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing sees the cur­rent fine of £100 dou­bled and will also carry six penalty points – it’s cur­rently three.

This should prove a de­ter­rent and also tar­gets the ‘dan­ger’ age group as new driv­ers have to re­take their test if they ac­quire six points dur­ing the first two years af­ter pass­ing their driv­ing test. So it goes some way to make this most dan­ger­ous of pas­times less at­trac­tive. But it still doesn’t go far enough. Be­cause us­ing a phone is more so­cially ac­cept­able than drink­ing in ex­cess, it is treated dif­fer­ently and yet it can ruin as many lives if used ir­re­spon­si­bly. Un­til a driver us­ing a phone is viewed in the same way a drink driver is, or a driv­ing-while-disqual­i­fied driver is, it’s not go­ing to be seen as a big deal. Un­til those us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing are banned and heav­ily fined, it’s just not enough to re­ally make driv­ers turn their phones off at the start of a jour­ney. They need to prop­erly con­tem­plate the con­se­quences of keep­ing a phone in range. So, while the lat­est leg­is­la­tion may be a step in the right di­rec­tion, it’s not some­thing that will rad­i­cally os­tracise those who choose to flout the law. And un­til we do that, this crime will be seen on a par with ex­ceed­ing the speed limit… and we all know it’s much worse than that.

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