After a recent increase in the number of horrific accidents caused by using a mobile phone whilst driving, the government is now in the planning stages of developing tougher penalties. A large number of these accidents caused whilst the driver was using a mobile phone have resulted in deaths of both adults and children, and a proportion of society is finally beginning to realise that using a mobile phone whilst driving is as bad as drink driving.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called for a cultural shift which would mean that using a phone while driving would be as taboo and shameful as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The key is to eventually see motorists shamed out of using their mobile phone while driving, because what can be deemed a small split second distraction, can wreck people’s lives forever.
It has reached the point now where it has to be made as clear as day, no phones should be allowed on the road. It eventually reached a point where it became completely socially unacceptable to drink and drive, and that is where the government want to see public awareness with mobile phone use whilst driving. The more people are made aware of the tragedy and devastation that can be caused by taking their eyes off the road, or their hands off the wheel, for a fleeting moment, the more they will think twice about doing so. Eventually, the hope is that using a phone in any capacity whilst driving will become something of a taboo, and ultimately shameful.
The recent government talks about such action needing to happen comes in wake of the high-profile accident where a lorry driver crashed into the back of a car killing a woman and three children, while using his mobile phone to scroll through music. Unfortunately however this is not a lone case, and dozens of other people have been killed in road accidents caused by a driver using a mobile phone while driving in months gone by.
The best way to deter mobile phone use is to shame motorists into abiding by the law, just as what happened with drink driving. Driving under the influence creates a lack of concentration and slower reaction times which result in accidents, and mobile phone use does the same.
2017 and Beyond
2017 is set to see new rules where motorists will receive a £200 fine as well as six points on their licence if they are caught driving whilst using handheld mobile phones, however many are saying that this is not enough of a deterrent, and this along with the fact that hands-free mobile use can be just as distracting. Drivers who are newly qualified could be made to retake their test if caught. The second time drivers are caught will result in steeper penalties including up to £1000 fine, court, and a potential six month ban from driving. Time will see whether these tougher penalties will work but we suspect that more harsh penalties will be needed to seriously reduce instances of mobile phone use whilst driving.