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Drivers back bigger fines for mobile phone motorists

Monday 13th May 2013

Most drivers welcome increased fixed penalty fines for people who use a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel - despite 42% admitting to having done so themselves - according to the latest AA/Populus survey (Herald Scotland).

The results of the survey of nearly 21,000 drivers published today (13 May) follow the announcement last week that the Government intends to crackdown on dangerous driving. As part of the crackdown, Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said that the penalty for ‘texting’ while driving will increase to £90.

In the survey, 74% of respondents said they have seen others use mobile phones on some or most journeys, with 25% seeing the practice on every journey.

58% said they had never used a hand-held phone in the car, but of the 42% that have used a phone, 60% admitted it distracted them.

Around 20% admitted to having used a mobile phone to send a text while driving, 4% to checking emails and 2% to sending emails. 2% claimed to have read Twitter or Facebook updates and 1% have tweeted while at the wheel.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “This epidemic of hand-held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives, and our members are demanding action. An increase in the standard motoring fixed-penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use.”

He said it was imperative that targeted police enforcement campaigns help to reinforce the message and that AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty.

Mr King added: “Our members also fully support education, so for some offenders an awareness course may be all they need to persuade them to comply with the law in future.

“It is worrying that the equivalent of six million drivers even admit to texting on the move. Action must be taken to stop these talking, texting, tweeting drivers.”

Click here to read the full Herald Scotland news item.

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I remember many years ago when I was in Singapore, watching traffic police pull up a motorist using a mobile phone. No points given, just smashed the phone on the ground. I bet, given the extreme right wing approach, he was also fined for littering.
Keith

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

Well £90 is a start, we need the police to run campaigns where nobody is given a chat about it but are fined. It's true £90 is only pocket money to some but if white van drivers and HGV drivers are caught they should be fined the maximum and it's a lot higher than £90. Points are the way to go if you are going to use punishments to bring people to their senses but my personal view is we need to make it socially unacceptable to use these devices when driving. How many times have you got into a car and the driver has used the phone at the wheel? What did you do?
Ken Sharpe York.

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
+4

You can't punish safety into a system, so why do all the various agencies that exist to promote a safe driving environment think that you can?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (4) | Disagree (7)
-3

As Brucie used to put it, "Points make prizes". If we are going to influence drivers in a serious way, increase the points. £90 is pocket money for lots of people and sends the message that the better off you are, the 'less' your punishment.
Keith Gammon, Buzz Road Safety Education, Havering

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)
+6

Eric
Your comment below is, if I may say so, a little cynical. Could it not be that Mr King genuinely believes that an awareness course could help make some drivers more aware of the dangers of using a mobile while driving, and as a result lead to a change in their behaviour?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (23) | Disagree (5)
+18

While I do not condone any use of mobile phones while driving, as an AA member who responds to their Populus Survey I deplore Mr King's exploitation of the responses to promote business for the AA, as exemplified by his closing remarks above.

“Our members also fully support education, so for some offenders an awareness course may be all they need to persuade them to comply with the law in future."

DriveTech is an AA subsidiary whose business is the delivery of such courses.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (7) | Disagree (22)
-15