Tag Archive for 'law-enforcement'

Tackling drivers on the phone

BBC News asks, “Will stronger penalties for driving while using a mobile phone be enough of a deterrent?” This follows news that the government are introducing tougher penalties. Specifically, drivers can be fined up to £60 and have up to three penalty points put on their licensee. Previously the maximum penalty was just £30. (These are the penalties assuming the culprit chooses not to contest the charges in court. If they do, the fines are much stiffer.)

Personally I think the fine could be ratcheted up a bit more. Whether £60 or, say £250, it’s still a bit of a discount on the £1000 an offender would get if they wasted everyone’s time by contesting it in court. Nevertheless I’m not sure that stiffening the penalty is the most important aspect here.

The real problem with this offence is that it’s very difficult for the police to enforce. I see people all time talking away on their mobile phones whilst driving. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Many of us now have cameras (or camera phones) in our pockets when out and about and could record the necessary evidence (as pedestrians, of course!). I suggest that the police should offer an automatic reward (say £20) to everyone who sends in such photos (to include the license plate). That would improve enforcement somewhat. Increased fines could easily pay for the reward scheme.