Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Car mobile phones - the police don't need to stop offenders to penalise them

It is very welcome news that penalties for using a mobile phone while driving are being toughened up from today.

For the last year I have switched off my "hands-free" mobile in its cradle while driving. I changed my practice after being called by a prize wassock who asked me if he could swop a non-existent room booking with me. He'd got the month wrong. Doh. This happened when I was going onto the M4 and I nearly had an accident due to losing concentration at a crucial point.

One could say: are people going to take notice of the anti-mobile law even now? Well, I was fascinated this morning to learn from BBC Breakfast that one million people have nine points on their licence and therefore they are one mobile phone offence away from a ban.

About eight years ago, I was on nine points after two stupid speeding offences in built-up areas. Since then I have been a meticulous observer of the law on speed limits. When you know you could get a ban with a further three point offence, it is remarkable how much it focusses the mind.

So, I suspect that this toughening-up of the penalties for mobile use will have an impact. Thank goodness for that, from a road safety point of view.

And, if anyone thinks that if they haven't been stopped by the police they won't get a penalty, they are in for a big shock. Edmund King of the RAC Foundation says:

They do not need to stop your car to issue you with a penalty. Three points in the post might follow an opportunistic call. That should be a warning to motorists that this is a law that will be enforced and they will not get away with it.

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