Police Federation calls for seizure of phones
A leading member of the Police Federation of England and Wales has suggested that motorists who use their mobiles illegally at the wheel should have them confiscated.
Speaking at a conference Police Constable Jayne Willetts, the Federation's lead on roads policing, said:
"The legislation is still lacking for these offenses, and does not take into account the use of phone watches. As technology is rapidly progressing, I fear our legislation is already behind the times.
"Is the seizure of mobile phones or their sim cards - along with an education system - the way forward, combined with fines? I don't know, but it's a question worth asking."
It is illegal to use a handheld phone while driving, with those falling foul of the rules due to face increased penalities of a £200 fine and six points on their licence from 1 March 2017.
Twenty two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads in 2015, where a motorist using a mobile was a contributory factor.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
"For people whose smartphone has become essential to their lifestyle the risk of confiscation could be a bigger deal than a fine or points on their driving licence.
"It would be a massive step to give police the power to mete out summary justice in this way.
"But with far too many people still flouting the law maybe it will take something as blunt and brutal as ‘you use it, you lose it’ to get the message across."
The call came on the same day that the transport element of the British Social Attitudes Survey 2015 was published. It said that:
"Whilst 90% of respondents agreed that use of hand-held mobiles while driving is dangerous, 48% agree that all mobiles, including hands-free sets, are dangerous, and 39% agree that even hands-free sets should be banned."
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation
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Notes to editors:
The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.
The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org