The Government has launched a new consultation which wants to hear your views on proposals to increase the number of penalty points and the amount of fixed penalty notice (FPN) levels for the use of hand-held mobile phones whilst driving. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving yet it is an offence which is seen very regularly.
The consultation was launched on 26th January and anybody can provide feedback on the governments questions which propose increasing FPN levels from the current rate of £100 to a higher level of £150 for all drivers. It also wants respondents to comment upon whether they think penalty points should be increased from 3 to 4 for non-HGV drivers and up from three to six for HGV licence holders who commit a mobile phone offence whilst driving an HGV.
The government has been discussing whether to change the legislation for hand-held mobile phone for some time, with the plans first outlined in December in their road safety plan but despite this their new consultation has been met with criticism from road safety campaign groups. The RAC’s Report on Motoring in September 2015 found 79% of drivers don’t think increasing penalties will make any difference unless there is effective enforcement in place and other road safety campaign groups believe the change from £100 to £150 is not enough to make any difference either.
Anybody can respond to the consultation and put across their views by simply visiting its webpage at the government website and following the short questionnaire with many tick-box questions.
The Telegraph recently reported some of the most unbelievable reasons drivers had cited for using their mobile phones whilst driving their vehicle according to police and they included everything from: “I was only looking at a photo – drivers using their mobiles really annoys me” to: “I have a new girlfriend and our song came on the radio, so I had to call her.” Whilst these reasons can appear amusing it is extremely dangerous to be focused on anything but road whilst driving, not to mention illegal to be using your mobile phone for any purpose so is it worth picking up penalty points and a fine to listen to a song? Or send a text message? It just doesn’t seem worth it, especially when the results truly could be fatal.
The government consultation closes on 16th March so there is plenty of time to voice your opinion on whether these new measures being considered are strong enough.