FINES FOR TEXTING WHILST DRIVING INCREASE – There is simply no excuse for engaging in texting whilst driving a car. Anyone with a rational mind will tell you it’s dangerous and could cost your life or worse take the life of an innocent victim.
Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin has announced that fines for texting whilst driving will incur a penalty of £90.00; an increase of 50% and will be introduced later this year.
Statistics clearly show that the existing fine is simply not enough to deter driving in engaging in text message while they drive and a number of road advocate groups have criticized the authorities for not enforcing the law.
Motoring organization has for a time provided the Government with statistics on the growing trend of talking, texting, tweeting and even using Facebook while operating a motor vehicle. This act is purely selfless with no consideration for the safety and lives of others and many believe, as do I, that the fine should be severe enough to act as a real deterrent. If the fine was in the region of £1,000 with a second offense resulting in the loss of a driving licence most people would abandon using their mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle. There is simply no excuse for doing so and therefore if a person is that selfish the penalties should reflect the severity of the crime.
I personally would take this a step further and not only invalidate their licence but also require a person to retake the driving examination in order to be able to use our public roads. Far too often laws are put into place that do not go far enough to act as any real deterrent.
“We want to send a clear message to dangerous drivers: If you continue to show complete disregard for the safety of other road users, we will catch you – and we will punish you.” Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin
Research has clearly shown that using a mobile phone, for whatever purpose, while operating a motor vehicle is more dangerous than if the person were intoxicated. This research alone should persuade the Government to create a law whereby the punishment fits the crime.
While the increase in the fine will come into effect the penalty points that a person receives for such an offence remains the same; that is three penalty points for each offence. Again, road safety campaigners are calling for an increase to six penalty points which would result in the loss of the driving licence for the second offence.
Last year over 150,000 drivers were convicted of using a mobile phone whilst driving and police forces across the country have indicated this is on the increase as people feel compelled to respond to text messages or Facebook conversations whilst driving their vehicles.
The new fine increases are also to be applied for other traffic offenses such as speeding but again road safety groups have come out to say that the Government simply isn’t doing enough to deter drivers from putting other road user’s lives at risk.
It almost appears impossible to comprehend that the use of any hand-held device whilst driving has been banned since 2003 and yet the number of people that flout the law continues to grow. This growth is directly attributed to the growing number of mobile devices that are now available and our perceptions that ‘saying in touch’ through our social networks is a vital part of our lives; regardless to the peril in which we put ourselves and that of others.
Since the first introduction of the ban in 2003 over one million motorists have been convicted of using hand-held devices whilst operating a motor vehicle; in 2010 alone there were over 160,000.
These figures clearly show that the current laws are not severe enough to deter people from such an action and I for one agree with the road safety campaigners that the new fines simply fail to act as any real deterrent.
In a recent poll by the AA it found that 42% of drives admitted to using their mobile phones while driving and 20% admitted to sending text messages. Further research by Which? Uncovered the alarming truth that anyone texting at the wheel loses 79% of their concentration ability – that’s a staggering seven times more loss of ability than compared to a drunk-driver.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commission, recently remarked in an interview that the law should be changed with greater levels of fines being imposed and a six point penalty added to the driver’s licence.
There is no doubt in my mind that many lives could be saved each year if motorist resisted the urge to use their mobile phones whilst operating a motor vehicle. The current fines and penalty points are simply not a strong enough deterrent and like any other law if you really want to stop the crime then you have to make the consequences severe enough people will think twice before acting.
How much do you think the fine should be for using a mobile phone whilst driving? Should a motorist lose their licence for such an offence; if committed twice? Have your say… leave your comments below.