One driver recently got in touch with their fleet manager to share their views of being caught using a mobile phone while driving. We share their thoughts here.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a driving awareness course at the request of Hampshire Constabulary.
No, I wasn’t caught speeding. I was caught accepting a 30 second call on my mobile phone 100m from my destination.
Luckily for me, my licence is clean and when I was asked to pull over and details given, I was offered the course as an alternative to what is currently 3 points and a mandatory fine.
I still had to pay £85 for the course, take a day off work, drive 140 miles there and 140 miles back and cover the associated cost in doing so.
I calculated to cost me in total in excess of £350. That is the immediate financial implication.
But from what I have learnt, this was a small cost in comparison to the implications of the offence being held on my driving record should I have been caught in any other county other than Hampshire.
I would have expected an increase on my premium on renewal which I would’ve had to accept, but learnt some insurance companies are refusing to insure individuals if and when this offence is declared (and some do insist on you declaring you have attended such courses).
I believe there are only two other constabularies in the UK that offer this course as an alternative.
For me the biggest learning curve, and the approach taken by the ex-police trainers, was the impact my actions could have had not just for me, not just my family, but the victim and their families had anything gone wrong.
We were taken through many learning programmes and knowledge assessments throughout the two and a half hours.
However one section was specifically around a local accident on the slip road of a motorway, where a lorry driver hit and killed a car driver while on the phone. We were shown photos taken at the actual scene with the full acknowledgement of the victim's family. They are now campaigning to prevent what they have gone through in future.
This rang bells with me. It could have been any one of us with our children being in the wrong place at the wrong time, being hit by any one of us who have been distracted by using a mobile device.
Luckily I was caught on this occasion, and nothing more - either penalties for me, or an accident - happened, but from this point on I won’t be using my mobile in the car, even on hands-free as I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s heartache in future.