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  • Government's increase in penalties for mobile phone use when driving

    mobile phone use penaltiesThe largest and most dangerous growing form of distracted driving is unfortunately the use of a mobile device to text whilst driving.

    Studies have shown that use of a mobile whilst driving increases your risk of being in a crash to the same level as drink driving. Yet whilst people are fully aware of the risk they are putting themselves and their passengers under they continue to use mobile technology whilst driving at an alarming rate.

    Anything that takes your eyes off the road for more than two seconds actually doubles your chances of an accident and at 55mph you can travel 10-15 car lengths in this same time.

    HGV Drivers targeted

    The Government’s plans to impose increased points and fines for driving whilst using a mobile phone will see a rise from three to four penalty points on a driver’s licence and a rise in fines from £100 to £150.

    HGV drivers however are being specifically targeted due to the increased consequences of distracted driving in such vehicles and will see their points doubled from three to six points. With these proposals being consulted on this year, it would be wise to keep your fleet updated and to ensure strict adherence to non-use of mobiles whilst driving fleet vehicles.

    With around a third of road-traffic collisions involving a person at work, there are thoughts that more could be done by working with industry to support and promote good practice in safer fleet management and occupational road safety.

    Startling statistics

    The Departments for Transport’s statistics suggest that 1.6% of the 38 million drivers in the UK regularly use a handheld mobile to call, text or browse the internet while driving. However, the AA have stated that from their polls they have found that as much as three-quarters of drivers now see others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with one quarter seeing it on every journey which is an alarming rate.

    Using a mobile phone behind the wheel is intentional reckless behaviour which diverts attention from driving and increases the risk of a crash.

    Widespread use of mobile phones while driving has already cost many lives to date and therefore the Government is attempting to actively reduce the cases of distracted driving from mobile phone use and ultimately make Britain’s roads safer.

    Nevertheless many believe that the penalties are powerless without increased enforcement as many drivers don’t recognise the chance of being caught, especially as many first-time offenders will be offered educational courses instead under this new regime.

    With this in mind, perhaps Fleet Managers should be working harder to communicate and guard against the issues of mobile phone usage whilst driving and instill tougher zero-tolerance penalties and use of technology to block mobile phone usage whilst driving?

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