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Driven to distraction?


Driven to distraction?

Drivers in the UK caught using a mobile phone for the first time will automatically receive penalty points under government plans set to take effect next year.

I was heartened to read last week that drivers in the UK caught using a mobile phone for the first time will automatically receive penalty points under government plans set to take effect next year.  Fines for offences will also be raised from £100 to £200 and penalty points will be increased from three to six points. A remedial driving course, an option to motorists in some police force areas allowing them to avoid points will no longer be available.

I have blogged previously on the effect that using a mobile phone can have on reaction times whilst driving but it seems that whilst over 80% of motorists think it is unacceptable to take even a short call with a hand held phone whilst driving, 12% of motorists still think it is acceptable to do so and 17% think it is safe to use a phone to text or check social media while in stationary traffic.

Living in a digitally connected age, it is perhaps no surprise that some people cannot help but be distracted by a device which allows them to text, tweet, email, listen to music or update their Facebook status so easily.  It is important, however, not to forget the devastating impact that a moments distraction can have on the lives of others though. For example, a family of four were killed by a lorry driver distracted by his mobile phone. Last month, Tomasz Kroker was given a 10 year prison sentence as a result.

Whether the increased fines and penalty points will make a difference remains to be seen. Ultimately the imposition of fines and penalty point rely on enforcement of the law and motoring groups believe that the decline in fines issued for using a mobile phone illegally is due to a lack of enforcement not a decline in motorists using their phones whilst driving. When you consider however that there were 22 fatal accidents in Britain last year in which use of a mobile was a contributory factor, you have to hope that drivers learn to remain unconnected for the period of time they are at the wheel.

If you have been injured as the result of a road traffic accident please contact Caroline Kelly on 01382 346282 or email ckelly@thorntons-law.co.uk or contact any member of the Personal Injury team on 01382 229111 who will be pleased to assist further.

Posted by Caroline Kelly

Partner & Solicitor Advocate

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