Tougher Sentences For Mobile Phone Use When Driving
Officers handed out 7,966 fixed penalty notices for the offence in a week-long campaign in November. The tally – equivalent to a rate of 47 an hour – is the highest yet for a week of enforcement on “distraction driving”. By comparison, the totals for three previous initiatives were 2,690 in May 2015, 2,276 in September 2015, and 2,323 in May last year. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) released the figures in advance of a fresh clampdown which starts on Monday.
We can expect that Scotland’s police will follow suit and I would expect to see new legislation before the end of 2017 that increases the panalty points for mobile phone use when driving to 6ppand fines also incereased.
We have seen some horrendous recent cases of driving while using a mobile phone and that distracted driving causing the loss of life and horror injuries to people throughout the UK so it is hardly surprising that we will see drivers targetted in this new intiiative.
Cases of driving while using a mobile phone are often not as straight forward as they at first seem. We have been dealing with such cases on an almost weekly basis for several years and the range of events and situations that occur never fail to surprise us. We had one last week where the police swore, on oath, that our client was driving a standard white transit van -they were as sure of that as they were sure that he was using a phone. Wrong!
This was the type of van used and it was bright ORANGE with a car on the back!
They then tried to argue that this was what they meant by a standard transit and that it could have been painted. We had to provide evidence to show the vehicle had never been altered as the prosecution would not accept the contents of the MOT and V5 details nor would they accept a Facebook post from that day that showed a photogrpah of the vehicle
So the Procurator Fiscal was effectively refusing to accept the MOT or even the Facebook image on the basis that the accused, who had no previous convictions, no points on his licence and no reason to lie would somehow be making this up.
Look out for these new police campaigns they will be run all over the UK. The police will be running targeted operations and education campaigns. The crackdown will include patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cameras, as well as community “spotters” to highlight hotspots and report repeat offenders to police.
Under plans announced last year, the Department for Transport will introduce legislation doubling the punishment for using a handheld mobile phone while driving – with the fine rising from £100 to £200 and penalty points increasing from three to six.