The Freight Transport Association says it’s keen to work with the Department for Transport on technological solutions to help enforce in-vehicle hand-held use of mobile phones.
It says plans to double fines and penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving send a strong signal to drivers – but better enforcement is essential.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has released its response to the consultation on ‘Penalties for use of a Hand Held Mobile Phone Whilst Driving’ to which FTA contributed. DfT proposes that offenders receive:
- 6 points for all drivers (currently 3)
- Fines of £200 (currently £100)
- No option to take a remedial course
Ian Gallagher, FTA Head of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Policy, said, “these proposed changes should go some way towards making all drivers think about the consequences of their actions. Vocational drivers also risk their livelihood as many of our members already have in place a zero tolerance for employees in breach of these rules.”
The FTA’s response to the consultation highlighted concerns that there was a lack of proactive enforcement of this offence, suggesting that more needed to be done in this area. The Association therefore welcomes the Department’s commitment to provide additional guidance or advice and consider new technology where it aids detection and ensure effective prosecution by the police.
Mr Gallagher added, “FTA agrees that these increased penalties should work to dissuade use, particularly in new drivers who risk losing their licence altogether. However, what is needed is a new effort to ensure the rules are enforced. Without enforcement,increasing the fines and penalties could have little impact on habitual users.”
In the Government response to the consultation, it said that “drive safe mode” technologies require positive action from the driver to engage them, but a drive safe mode that could be engaged automatically through either motion detection or linking with in-car technology had strong support. However it added that a major hurdle would be distinguishing between when a person was driving versus being a passenger, travelling on public transport or being active, and that applying technological solutions at a broad level would also be limited by the technical capability of an individual’s car and/or mobile phone.