Drivers face jail for using mobile phone
Motorists who use their mobile phone whilst driving could face up to two years in jail.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has issued new guidelines that could see drivers who don’t use handsfree kits being prosecuted for dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
The CPS is concerned that too many drivers are flouting the existing mobile ban, which carries a maximum penalty of a fine and points on the driving licence. However, most offenders will continue to receive the standard penalty, with prison sentences reserved for those who use their phone whilst speeding or overtaking, for example.
Director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, has called for drivers to be punished for both talking on their phone and text messaging whilst driving, according to the BBC.
The BBC also reports that a new study from the Transport Research Laboratory finds that conducting a phone conversation – even with a handsfree kit – could be more dangerous than drink driving.
The study found that a driver on the phone is more distracted than one who is at the legal alcohol limit.
“Chatting to a passenger can be distracting, but what we found is that it’s less so than having a mobile call,” Dr Nick Reed from the Transport Research Laboratory tells the BBC. “What we think that is to do with is that the passenger can see the traffic around you and can maybe pick up on your body language cues, and then modify the conversation accordingly.”
The study has led to transport company, FirstGroup, banning the use of handsfree kits in company vehicles.