Crackdown on drivers distracted at the wheel
EVERY driver involved in a car crash will have their hand-held mobile phone seized to check if they were using it prior to the accident.
The move is likely to see drivers' phones taken away from them to be used as evidence in prosecutions.
Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is responsible for roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers, issued the advice to check phones at the roadside.
The checks will apply to any accident, leading to fears that drivers could lose their phone after a ‘minor shunt’ or be unable to contact relatives or recovery services after a crash.
Hugh Bladon, of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: ‘I am 100 per cent against anyone texting while driving, and those caught deserve everything they get.
‘But I’m worried police could overdo it. Just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn’t mean they should lose their phone.’
The move comes shortly after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin suggested that people caught using hand-held mobile phones while driving should get six points on their licence rather than the three currently handed out to offenders.
An estimated 500 people a year are killed or seriously injured as a result of car and lorry drivers using their phones at the wheel.
McLoughlin said: ‘The amount of casualties has been absolutely appalling. We’ve got to change this.’
AA President Edmund King, said: ‘The current deterrent just isn’t working. Many drivers seem addicted to their phones and just can’t resist looking at a text or tweet at the wheel. We need a concerted effort to crack this addiction with harsher penalties linked to an information and enforcement campaign.’
Drivers who cause a crash and kill someone whilst using a phone can face up to 14 years in prison. However, in 2012 over 10,000 drivers were offered a road safety course instead of points and a fine.
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