# Thursday, 01 March 2007

The government has recently brought in tougher penalties for people who use a mobile phone whilst driving. These new penalties apply to using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving; so it is still possible to use a hands free set with your phone. The fine has now doubled from £30 to £60 and it is also possible that three points could be added to your licence if you are caught.

I’m not sure that these changes are going to have any effect on drivers that persistently drive whilst using a mobile. As someone who uses my car rarely I find that my safety as a pedestrian has been compromised on numerous occasions by drivers who are simply having a good chat on their phone and are more intent on the conversation than watching the road. There has been legislation in place to fine these people since 2003 and I still see just as many drivers flouting the law. Only the other day a driver failed to notice me on a pedestrian crossing because he was talking on his mobile and was lucky to stop before hitting me. Of course the driver seemed to think that this was my fault.

The fact is that even with this legislation in place and even if people were to obey it, you still have the option to use a hands free set with your mobile whilst driving. Independent research shows that this can be as dangerous as driving whilst drunk because it reduces you concentration and awareness of your surroundings. While I appreciate that it is reassuring to have a mobile phone with you whilst driving in case you get lost or break down I think that this legislation needs to be still tougher to discourage drivers from putting others in danger. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6382077.stm