Call for stronger phone punishments

Call for stronger phone punishments

A leading road safety charity has called for stronger and more consistent penalties for motorists found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) looked at 11 recent prosecutions involving drivers who had killed somebody while using their mobile phone at the wheel. It worked out a typical sentence was four-and-a-half years imprisonment and a seven-year driving ban.

In six of the cases, the distracted motorists hit a stationary or slow-moving vehicle; in three they ended up on the wrong side of the road and had a head-on collision and in the other two pedestrians were killed.

Despite surveys showing that most drivers know using a phone while at the wheel is unsafe, 750,000 fixed penalties have been dished out for this offence since 2006.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "The maximum sentence available to the courts is 14 years, so there is still scope for an even stronger road safety message that drivers who kill whilst distracted on their phones will be caught and jailed for a long time.

"The lesson here is obvious: never use your phone while driving. Whether you have a hands free kit or use loudspeaker, it doesn't matter. Using your phone in any capacity reduces your attention from the task at hand - driving."

Copyright Press Association 2013