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Drivers are Still Ingnoring Mobile Phone Laws

I spend a reasonable amount of time driving round the Shropshire countryside, and the West Midlands motorway network, and I see a vast number of drivers – particularly those in vans and HGV’s on their mobiles.  Therefore, I am not surprised to learn that the Ministry of Justice has revealed the number of drivers prosecuted for using their phone, whilst behind the wheel, has more than doubled in the past two years.

Apparently, just under 500 people were prosecuted for using hand-held mobile phones when the law was introduced in 2004, but, between 2007 and 2008, the number of men prosecuted for mobile use has soared from 9,656 to 23,649, while the number of women leapt from 1,255 to 3,344.

Scientific research shows that drivers’ reaction times slow by almost half when talking on the phone and the Ministry of Justice believes a dependency on technology is plaguing Britain’s roads.

In 2007, the fixed penalty fine for mobile use increased from £30 to £60, with 3 points added to the offender’s license.  If the case is taken to court, motorists run the risk of a fine of up to £1,000 and even disqualification from driving.

Andrew Howard, Head of AA’s Road Safety Team, feels drivers think they will never get caught using their mobiles and are openly flouting the law.

He added “I also think people do not really feel at any risk of being caught.  These figures sound impressive, but there are probably 100,000 people driving around on the roads at the moment on their phone.”.

“The answer is that there have got to be more cops in cars and more traffic patrols.  It is also true this only became law fairly recently and drivers have not really got the message yet.”

Personally I think even ‘hands free’ devices are distracting – as are using iPods and sat navs – but then if a person is allowed to light up a cigarette (which listening to today’s news may well also be up for question due to protecting the health of children, just where do you draw the line?