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Business drivers should face stiffer penalties for using phone at wheel, says police chief

Company car and van drivers should receive harsher punishments for using a mobile phone at the wheel, according to Chief Constable Suzette Davenport.

The Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead officer on road policing told the Daily Mail that tougher penalties would act as a deterrent.

She has called for a two-tier system, with other drivers being punished less harshly.

“If you get caught twice on a mobile phone during a set period of time you should receive a short-term ban,” she said.

“If you cannot conduct your professional life or business, that is really going to impact on people and I hope it would be a deterrent.”

Ministers are planning to raise fines for drivers caught on their mobiles from £100 to £150, as well as increasing the number of endorsement points they receive on their licences. 

But Davenport does not think current proposals to increase penalties go far enough.

She said: “I am looking at people running up and down the motorways, these are often young men aged 20 to 35. They are professional drivers.

“If these people are driving as part of their business and they are taking more risks as a result, in return they should face higher enforcement.” 

RAC Business spokesperson Simon Peevers said: “The fact is there are too many motorists in general that still use hand-held mobile phones while driving and there is a real need to change that behaviour. Whether people are driving for business, going to the shops or doing the school run, the distraction caused by hand-held phone use can lead to disastrous consequences.

“It is right that the Government is currently carrying out a consultation into how to change that behaviour because the challenge has been how to enforce the laws we currently have, which have been in place since 2003, banning all use of hand-held devices while at the wheel.

“It may be that the threat of a driving ban is a better deterrent than points and a fine, and worthy of consideration; but rather than set a higher level of punishment for certain drivers the law should be equal and clear for all drivers and crucially, more effectively enforced.”

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  • Ken Davis - 01/02/2016 11:36

    Personally, I feel that the fine should be much higher. Drivers will only start to take notice when the cost seriously hits theirs pockets?

  • Busterrabbit - 01/02/2016 11:39

    The penalty for using a phone whilst driving should be harsher for ALL drivers. (assuming there are any Police left to catch them!) In addition to business users there is a whole generation of mainly younger drivers who are seemingly addicted to looking at their phones, and to whom Twitter, snapchat et al are more important than looking where they're going. Nothing short of a ban will change their behaviour. Of course there are many hundreds, if not thousands of drivers with more than the 12 points required for an automatic ban, who are still driving. Apparently losing their licence would cause them "real hardship" so that's all right then. This farcical situation needs to be addressed.

  • dave - 01/02/2016 12:06

    Is anyone looking at people who stick mobiles to windscreens (often in MOT failure areas which should be subject to penalty anyway) who have social media feeds scrolling away in front of them whilst driving. Not heard anything about controlling this. Motorways are still by far the safest roads to drive on, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport may want to focus on the real problem and not the easy pickings of business drivers on motorways where they know fines will be paid and bans taken. Yes, it does cause problems on Motorways and not suggesting that doesn't need tackling but much more problem with private drivers getting distracted with other cars coming the opposite direction without barriers between them. So putting higher penalty on business drivers on Motorways is giving completely the wrong message to private drivers on smaller roads that what they are doing is not as dangerous as businessmen on motorways, It is a lot more dangerous with more frequent and more damaging consequences. Up the penalties to match drink driving penalties as mobile devise use is probably causing more incidents than drink driving.

  • Winston - 01/02/2016 13:23

    What seems to be lacking is a clear and consistent message that any use of hand-held phones or other gadgets, whist driving any vehicle, is dangerous, illegal and will result in fines, points and driving bans. For those who seem to think that interactive conversation whilst driving is essential, there is bluetooth readliy available, so there is absolutely no excuse for picking up the phone. Simples!

  • bob the engineer - 01/02/2016 19:05

    Curiously, they managed to prosecute a woman the other day for eating a banana whilst sat in a stationary traffic jam, yet my carcam must capture 50 people a day, many of them HGV drivers using handheld phones whilst steaming along. Another thing confuses me is seeing 30, 40, 50, 100 thousand £ cars even with people using handhelds, how can these cars not have built in handsfree these days for that price? Fleet managers should be refusing to allow car purchases without standard or option selected handsfree. Many of these premium vehicles I know for sure have handsfree fitted so even scarier is that companies are employing people too thick to read 1 page of the manual in the glove box and pair their damn phone!

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