There are plans to give police the rights to demand drivers hand over their mobile phones to them in the event of a road traffic accident, of any size, whether injuries are sustained or not. The plan is designed to bring down the number of serious and fatal accidents that are caused by drivers who are using their phones illegally whilst behind the wheel. It’s believed around 500 people per year are killed or seriously injured due to phones being used behind the wheel in the UK alone.
Police officers will be able to take mobile phones and look for evidence which suggests a call was in progress, a message was sent or received or a social networking update was being sent at the time of the accident. If any evidence is found then the device could be seized and used for any prosecution that may come about. Current law allows officers to check mobile phones but only in the most serious accidents.
The change in directive was issued by the chief constable currently responsible for the policing the UK’s roads. The main hope behind the rule is that drivers will think twice before reaching for their phones when behind the wheel and this will see the number of accidents drop. The risk of losing their phones is threat enough for many people but more than that the penalty for being caught is possibly being increased to six license penalty points and this is now half way towards a ban.
There are some criticisms of the impending change, mainly to do with worries about overzealous policemen confiscating devices in even the most minor, non-harmful accidents. On the other side of the argument is the road safety charity Brake and campaigns officer Ed Morrow has asserted the charity’s belief that mobile phones are ‘menace on the roads’. He also said that offenders need to be more aware of the risks of using their phones and the high risk of prosecution.
Another concern raised by those not keen on the change is the time it will take and the fact it may prevent victims from being able to contact their loved ones but these seem like suggestions that are simply trying to criticise the potential changes. The fine for using a mobile phone was increased to £100 in August 2013. This policy is currently being reviewed for its effectiveness as the police and leading charities clearly see a need for further action to limit the number of accidents on the road.
The risk of an accident when using a mobile phone is greatly heightened and if you’re involved in an accident that isn’t your fault and the other driver is found to be using a mobile phone, there is a good chance you can claim for compensation. Contacting a professional personal injury solicitors and providing all the information you have about the incident and your injuries is the best place to start. Get in touch with Lamb & Co today if you think you have a claim and we’ll provide all you need to know.