Will anyone admit to having quickly slapped a mobile phone to your ear while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle? Or checking an ‘urgent’ text message with one eye on the phone and the other on the road ahead?
In a recent survey of 650 drivers conducted by GEM Motoring Assist, more than 90 per cent thought that the current £60 fine for using a phone while driving should be increased to £100 for offenders. Not only that, but 82 per cent were keen for those caught to be hit with six penalty points, not three as it stands now.
I’m all for the tougher sentencing. Next to those who neglect to use indicators and parents who ‘forget’ to strap their kids in, few things rile me more than seeing someone on the blower or eyes down on their mobiles at traffic lights.
And why is it that drivers of vans and lorries feel they can brazenly wield a mobile to their ear? You’ll have to look a little more closely at the bloke in the Ford Focus who thinks he’s mastered the technique of leaning his elbow on the windowsill while ‘cleverly’ concealing his phone in his hand, but he’s just as culpable.
By the way, the van driver comment is not a throwaway generalisation; surveys conducted in 2009 found that 2.9 per cent of car drivers, and five per cent of van and lorry drivers, were guilty of the dirty act.
According to GEM, ‘driving while using a mobile phone can make motorists four times more likely to have a crash and reaction times 50 per cent worse than when driving normally.’
With statistics like that, why don’t we all start taking pictures of offenders and shop them to the cops? Anyone got a hands-free camera?