After the launch of the recent hand-held mobile phone consultation by the government, several professional bodies have shared their opinion and they include the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Roads Policing, Chief Constable Davenport, who believes a harder line on business drivers could make a real difference to repeat offences.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Chief Constable Davenport shared her belief that tougher penalties specifically for business drivers make ‘act as a deterrent.’ Chief Constable Davenport also agreed with many road safety campaign groups that the current consultation doesn’t go far enough, with it suggesting the fixed penalty notices should rise from £100 to £150 for all drivers, regardless of the purpose of their vehicle use.
Chief Constable Davenport asserted in her discussion with the newspaper that drivers who are working or driving professionally actually pose a disproportionate risk to other drivers as they spend more time travelling up and down the motorways and A roads around the country. In her view delivery drivers and others driving professionally should face a ban if caught twice whilst other drivers would be punished less stringently. She asserted that being caught twice should lead to a ‘short-term ban’ and that with this in mind she’d hope it would be a deterrent as a ban could spell the end of someone’s career and make life very difficult.
RAC warns of Two-Tier System
Despite Chief Constable Davenport’s viewpoint there are others who stand in opposition to her thoughts, most notably the RAC who immediately put out a response to her statements, in which they stated all drivers should face the same penalties.
Speaking on behalf of the RAC Business sector, Simon Peeves stated: “Whether people are driving for business, going to the shops or doing the school run, the distraction caused by hand-held phone use can lead to disastrous consequences.” They also warned against the creation of a ‘two-tier system’ and focused on the need for a change in behaviour universally, by all drivers, if the huge problem with mobile phone use at the wheel is to be tackled.
Turning back to their own report released in summer 2015, Peeves also cited the fact that 79% of questioned drivers said they wanted more effective enforcement of existing laws carried out and this suggests that any changes would be ineffectual if the existing laws were consistently being flouted and nothing was to be done about it.
Whilst the consultation is still open until mid-March anyone can share their opinion on what should be done and it is based on all feedback that the government will make their decision.