Penalty points should be doubled for drivers caught using a mobile phone, and young drivers caught within two years of getting their licence should be forced to retake their test, according to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner (Daily Mail).
Sir Bernard believes that if penalty points were doubled to six for motorists caught using a mobile phone at the wheel, drivers would be deterred from flouting the law.
He said: “I have to say I have still got an issue around mobile phone usage myself. I think it is still very high when people are driving. If I was able tomorrow, I would say you get six points for driving while using a phone.
“The problem at the moment is we are dishing out lots of tickets, somebody gets three points and they have got another three chances. I would say you have got two chances. You have had a mobile phone infraction and if you do it again you lose your licence.”
His comments follow concerns that an increasing number of drivers are ignoring the ban on using their mobiles behind the wheel. According to the Daily Mail, the Government’s decision to increase the penalty from a £30 fine six years ago to £60 has had little effect on motoring attitudes. One recent study suggested around 200,000 motorists are fined for the offence every year.
A DfT spokesman said: “Using a mobile phone whilst driving is incredibly dangerous and the vast majority of drivers know that if caught they could face a fine, penalty points and even prison in serious cases.
“Unfortunately some drivers continue to break the law which is why we have recently consulted on increasing the fixed penalty for this offence from the current £60.”
Edmund King, AA president, said: “There is a case for having a stronger deterrent like six penalty points. This would have a particular impact on young people who would lose their licences immediately.
“If the penalty was increased there must be a concerted police campaign to show people there is a strong likelihood they will get caught.”
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “If drivers know there is a good chance of getting caught if they use their phone while driving, they are less likely to risk doing so.
“Increasing the points for this offence would be inconsistent with other motoring offences, but it is very likely that the fine for a range of fixed penalty motoring offences will be increased, from £60 to £90.”
Click here to read the full Daily Mail story.