MP: Mobile phone drivers should get instant ban

MP: Mobile phone drivers should get instant ban
All motorists caught using a handheld phone while driving should be automatically disqualified and fined £1,000, an MP has said.

Labour's Roger Godsiff warned that the Government's proposals to increase the minimum fine and number of penalty points awarded to offenders is too low and does not “fully reflect the risk” to other people.

He has now called for tougher measures as a way of discouraging such “dangerous behaviour”.

Official figures released this week seem to suggest police are turning a blind eye to mobile phone use when driving – with the total of fixed penalty notices issued by forces in England and Wales plunging by 43% between 2014 and 2015.

READ MORE: Police call for dashcam footage to help prosecute dangerous drivers

The RAC’s road safety spokesman Pete Williams claims that law-abiding motorists are increasingly keen to see the law on illegal mobile use being properly enforced.

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Mr Godsiff has tabled an early day motion (EDM), which is formally a motion for debate.

Ministers announced in September that they want to double the punishment for handheld mobile phone use from three penalty points and a minimum fine of £100, to six points and £200.

This would mean new drivers would lose their licence the first time they are caught using a handheld phone, as clocking up only six points within two years of passing the test is enough to ensure it is revoked.

More experienced motorists can lose their licence if they receive 12 penalty points within a three-year period.

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Mr Godsiff’s EDM states: “That this House is concerned about the ongoing problem of the use of mobile telephones while driving, which is dangerous and against the law… [it] notes that in 2014, 1.6% of all drivers in England and Scotland were observed using a handheld mobile telephone while driving.”

The motion goes on to state that research shows using a phone while driving makes a driver's reactions 50% slower and makes them four times more likely to crash.

While supporting the stricter new penalty, he is “concerned that this is still too low to fully reflect the risk to other road users” and calls for disqualification for all drivers who use a mobile telephone while driving, along with a fine of £1,000, as a “more appropriate” disincentive to this “dangerous behaviour".

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.