With the number of accidents caused as a result of mobile phone use at the wheel soaring, a police chief is calling for devices to be confiscated from anyone caught using them while driving.
According to latest statistics, during 2015, there were 22 people killed and a further 99 were seriously injured because of crashes involving mobile phone use.
Now Jayne Willetts, who heads up the roads policing department of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says the law needs to get up to speed with modern times.
Legislation needs to keep pace with technology
Talking to fellow officers at a roads policing conference, the constable said that while technology was progressing at a rapid pace, legislation was not keeping up with it. She said the question needed to be asked whether seizing mobile phones or Sim cards could be the way forward to deter drivers from breaking the law. She also suggested an education system about the dangers, along with fines.
Motoring research charity, The RAC Foundation said that the idea would be a “blunt and brutal” move, but that it could hold the answer to cutting down the number of road traffic collisions.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said that some drivers would feel that losing their phone was a bigger punishment than getting fined or points on their driving licence. He added that perhaps it was now time to take drastic “you use it, you lost it” action.
Currently, drivers caught using a hand-held phone while behind the wheel risk getting a £100 fine and three penalty points, although the Department for Transport is considering doubling both the fine and the points given out.
Home Office figures show that 17,000 drivers have been given penalty notices for using their phone at the wheel during 2015. In 2011, the figure was a whopping 123,100 notices.