02 June 2017
What Will it Take For Drivers to Put Down Their Phones?
A major police crackdown caught 6,000 motorists illegally using mobile phones at the wheel.
A total of 200 drivers were spotted each day using their mobile phones whilst at the wheel during a four-week period in March, according to new figures released by the police.
We see all too often the devastating effect caused by a driver’s momentary distraction. What will it take for lessons to be learned?
Points on Your Licence is Beside The Point
As of 1 March, 2017, any motorists caught falling foul of the law have seen fines of £200 along with six points on their licence. The penalty doubled from £100 and three points because it was reportedly not enough to keep people from using smartphones at the wheel. This means that sending a text could cost a motorist their right to drive.
People kid themselves that glancing up from their phone at the road ahead is safe. It is not.
Despite this, figures obtained from police forces across Britain show there were 5,977 instances of illegal mobile use by drivers during the crackdown, from 1 to 28 March.
A survey conducted by The Co-op revealed 39 per cent of drivers did not realise the number of points was increasing to six when caught using your mobile phone behind the wheel. The fact that a driver receives a penalty for being caught pales in comparison to the potentially life-changing consequences our clients have experienced as a result of distracted drivers.
Twenty-two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads in 2015, with motorist mobile phone use a contributory factor.
Distracted Drivers Lead to Accidents
People kid themselves that glancing up from their phone at the road ahead is safe. It is not. Their field of vision is limited to the small area of road in front of their car. When a driver is driving properly, they use their full field of vision to check for dangers. They are far more likely to spot a child on the pavement who is not paying attention, or a motorcycle that is going to overtake, or any of the hundreds of other hazards that present themselves. The longer you drive and use your phone, the more likely it is that you will hurt or kill someone.
A recent study estimated that 22 per cent of crashes could be caused by driver distraction. The research revealed hands-free calls pose the same risk and that texting drivers have a 35 per cent slower reaction times and poor lane control.
The risk of distracted drivers is abhorrently clear to those who have been injured or affected by a road traffic accident. It’s for this reason that road safety charity, Brake, continue to campaign for the penalties to be ‘significantly increased’ and why the police hope to make using phones at the wheel as ‘socially unacceptable as drink-driving.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers is a leading personal injury law firm and are experts in helping people with road traffic accident compensation claims. For a free consultation, call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.
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Steve Hill is a principal lawyer specialising in personal injury at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.