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BBC: New drivers caught using phones to lose licence

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Chief Bakes

New drivers caught using phones to lose licence

  • 1 March 2017
  • From the section UK
Campaign posterImage copyright Department for Transport

Drivers caught using a phone within two years of passing their test will have their licence revoked under new rules in England, Scotland and Wales.

Penalities for using a phone at the wheel double from 1 March to six points and a £200 fine.

New drivers who get six points or more must retake their practical and theory. More experienced drivers can be banned if they get 12 points in three years.

The tougher punishments come alongside a hard-hitting advertising campaign.

In 2015 - the latest year for which figures are available - 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents where a driver was using their phone.

Can this potentially deadly habit be stopped?

From Wednesday, police forces will carry out a seven-day crackdown, with extra patrols and an "increased focus" on people using their phones while driving.

About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from 23-29 January, the Department for Transport said.

Adverts aimed at discouraging phone use have been developed by the government's road safety group Think! and the AA Charitable Trust, and will be shown at cinemas and on billboards, radio and social media.

In one, a drunk man suggests he should swap places with his sober girlfriend, who is texting on her phone while driving him home.

The film ends with the message: "You wouldn't drink and drive. Don't text and drive."


'Life without Zoe'

Image copyright Department for Transport

"Everything died on that day because that man decided to pick up his phone."

Those are the words of Emily Carvin, whose mother Zoe was killed 11 years ago when an HGV driver crashed into her car while texting.

Emily, along with her father Paul, above, and brother Ben, feature in the government's campaign designed to persuade drivers to change their behaviour.

"People use the word accident," Paul says in the film, Life without Zoe. "It wasn't an accident. It didn't come about by accident. It was a road crash caused by somebody doing something that he shouldn't have been doing."

Ben adds: "There's nothing so important that it cannot wait. Don't use your phone."


Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.

"Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice."

Calls to prevent drivers using phones intensified last year in the wake of several high-profile cases and research indicating that it was widespread.

In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who killed a mother and three children while distracted by his phone, was jailed for 10 years.

Image caption Lorry driver Tomasz Kroker killed four people while distracted by his phone

Edmund King, president of the AA, said too many drivers were addicted to their phones.

"We need to break this addiction and the best way is for drivers to go cold turkey - turn off the phone and put it in the glove box."

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs' Council roads policing lead, said: "We need people to understand that this is not a minor offence that they can get away with."


What is the law?

  • It is illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices
  • The rules are the same if you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic
  • It is also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider

Have you been penalised for using a phone at the wheel? Have you been affected by a driver using their phone? Tell us your stories by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

You can also contact us in the following ways:

  • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
  • WhatsApp: +447555 173285
  • Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK)

Or please use the form below:

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Rocket

Fresh from the twitters;

Breaking Irony News: a journalist driving here to cover phone/driving crackdown has just been busted: £200, 6pts.

C50l2Q-WQAAXyKH.jpg
  • Like 1

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BlueBob

Still misses out on those making the call at the other end- businesses need to also take some responsibility but are currently completely absolved of any 'wrong doing' 

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Smiley Culture
2 hours ago, BlueBob said:

Still misses out on those making the call at the other end- businesses need to also take some responsibility but are currently completely absolved of any 'wrong doing' 

Does "causing or permitting" not apply to mobile phone use?  (That wasn't a rhetorical question - I actually don't know)

Edited by Smiley Culture

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Zulu 22
2 hours ago, BlueBob said:

Still misses out on those making the call at the other end- businesses need to also take some responsibility but are currently completely absolved of any 'wrong doing' 

Hmm, aiding and abetting. How could anyone prove that they knew that the person was driving when they made the call. The responsibility is down to the driver, they answered the call, or even made it. There is no excuse the dangers have been advertised for long enough.  It should certainly make new drivers think a little more and, if they transgress, then they deserve everything.

One of my old Traffic Sergeants is now an  Driving Examiner. On one test the driver answered her phone part way through the test.  He told her to pull over her, and she was failed immediately.

Edited by Zulu 22
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Sceptre
1 hour ago, Smiley Culture said:

Does "causing or permitting" not apply to mobile phone use?  (That wasn't a rhetorical question - I actually don't know)

It does indeed. 

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BlueBob
1 hour ago, Smiley Culture said:

Does "causing or permitting" not apply to mobile phone use?  (That wasn't a rhetorical question - I actually don't know)

Difficult to prove the use / cause permit - but reasonable thought

1 hour ago, Zulu 22 said:

Hmm, aiding and abetting. How could anyone prove that they knew that the person was driving when they made the call. The responsibility is down to the driver, they answered the call, or even made it. There is no excuse the dangers have been advertised for long enough.  It should certainly make new drivers think a little more and, if they transgress, then they deserve everything.

One of my old Traffic Sergeants is now an  Driving Examiner. On one test the driver answered her phone part way through the test.  He told her to pull over her, and she was failed immediately.

I have no qualms that responsibility lies with the driver. However enforcement alone, especially with diminishing resources, is not actually doing very much to reduce the problem.  If we believe any of the H&S stats, or those dealing with new/used vehicle sales, a significant number of drivers / journeys (something like 80%) are done in the course of business.  A lot of them more than just a man and a van, but bigger businesses.   
If my LGV driver is over weight, running a bald tyre, no VEL, no ADR forms etc etc, the business gets chased equally prosecuted or at least resolve how the problem arose and to avoid reoccurrence.  I wonder why businesses are not being proactively engaged as a deterrent.  The time invested may increase in the short term but may well have longer term benefits.
The morning news mentioned something like 22 road deaths last year involving mobile usage - perhaps business driver usage was low on that figure and its the private motorist who is more the offender and so my comments would falter.  
My comment, and opening for discussion really, is not to negate the driver's responsibility but to explore other ways to stop the problem rather than just create income from it.  
 

Edited by BlueBob

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David

Whilst I am behind these new penalties, unfortunately there's a wider issue. We can triple the fine, seize the vehicle, whatever you like, but unless there's the officers out there to impose it all it's all pretty pointless really.

There's a train of thought to suggest that if current mobile phone users had been caught and punished/summonsed we wouldn't be here now. But due to lack of officers, drivers know they can get away with it and use their devices with contempt for the law because the likliehood of getting caught is so slim. I can guarantee that on any mile walk or even less I will see at least three drivers on their devices, and I've not even been looking for them. There they are, happily chatting away, holding the wheel with one hand as they drive along, urban areas or not. And nary a police officer at all.

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Clear Left!

Fantastic news! I had a few people come up to me today and ask about it

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wildoat

Why this subject isn't treated more seriously is beyond me, a national awareness campaign is well overdue in my opinion. The fine/penalties should be much higher and offenders should have the book thrown at them just like drink drivers.

The government needs to get up to speed on this and the police should have the resources to enforce the law, anyone who uses the roads on a regular basis knows how widespread this problem is.

cheers

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alicing
Why this subject isn't treated more seriously is beyond me, a national awareness campaign is well overdue in my opinion. The fine/penalties should be much higher and offenders should have the book thrown at them just like drink drivers.
The government needs to get up to speed on this and the police should have the resources to enforce the law, anyone who uses the roads on a regular basis knows how widespread this problem is.
cheers


Totally agree with this. There's no excuse for putting the lives of others in such danger. The sad thing is it's usually other people they kill.


Sent from my iPhone using Police Community

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David
20 hours ago, wildoat said:

Why this subject isn't treated more seriously is beyond me, a national awareness campaign is well overdue in my opinion.

Why though? It's part of the Highway Code, something that needs to be studied to pass the driving test, so how can anyone at all be ignorant of a law that's been high profile for well over a decade?

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BlueBob
13 hours ago, alicing said:


Totally agree with this. There's no excuse for putting the lives of others in such danger. The sad thing is it's usually other people they kill.

Sent from my iPhone using Police Community

 

Just a thought,  does this extend to users of radios, such as police drivers? Whose conversations tend to involve detailed , complex or intense information .   The only reason they are exempt so as to use the airwaves or Push to talk, is the radio frequency.  

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alicing
Just a thought,  does this extend to users of radios, such as police drivers? Whose conversations tend to involve detailed , complex or intense information .   The only reason they are exempt so as to use the airwaves or Push to talk, is the radio frequency.  


In my opinion no, although I've not had experience of driving with the radio yet, we are encouraged to use the car radio rather than our handheld devices and for the passenger to do the radio if we are double crewed. Plus, officers are trained to a higher standard of driving than most of the public and taught to be much more aware of surroundings.

But that's just my thoughts on it, but obviously it is a distraction and perhaps you're right and there could be a better way.


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Meditate
14 minutes ago, BlueBob said:

Just a thought,  does this extend to users of radios, such as police drivers? Whose conversations tend to involve detailed , complex or intense information .   The only reason they are exempt so as to use the airwaves or Push to talk, is the radio frequency.  

Not just police who are exempt but amateur radio licence holders who use radio in their car. This flags up some real inconsistencies. I do not think the publicised case if I read it correctly of pushing buttons on sat nav should have led to a ban but I do understand it is distracting. But so is tuning your car radio, talking hands free or arguing with a passenger etc.  If it is being done for safety reasons then use of police radio should be banned also, this then leads on to hands free and if research shows that is equally distracting then there is an issue of consistency.I

I havent even mentioned eating, drinking and smoking as these activities I understandcan be pulled up but will not incur 6 points as a minimum ( nor am I advocating they should).And why would watching a dvd carry the same penalty as using a phone?  In essence what I am saying is that if you take the time to change the penalties then it is a missed opportunity to look at the behaviours of other activities and their impact on concentration whilst driving. I think politically the activities are acknowledged but ignored due to politics rather than safety.

As stated earlier though  the public do it because they have learnt that the likelihood of police being around to enforce is minuscule. In my opinion people are glued go their phone far too much whether driving, walking down the street or involved in other activities. 

Personally I do support the change for mobile phones as there is a cheap option of hands free anyway ( this begs the question of why hands free is legal until such time you have had an accident and then found guilty of being distracted of using your phone). If however I was pulled  over for hitting a couple if buttons on my sat nav whilst stationary at traffic lights I would be miffed.

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