MOST people believe that using a mobile ‘phone while driving is unsafe – yet, since 2006, 750,000 fixed-penalty notices have been issued for this offence.
Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling for stronger and more consistent penalties for drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
In 11 recent prosecutions involving phone use, a recent IAM analysis revealed that the average sentence for causing death by dangerous driving was four-and-a-half years in prison and a disqualification from driving for seven years.
In all of the cases analysed, the convicted drivers were found to have lost concentration due to using their mobile ‘phone, causing:
- Six incidents where vehicles ran into the back of a stationary or slow-moving queue of traffic or a broken-down vehicle
- Three incidents where vehicles drifted across the road and hit another vehicle head-on
- Two incidents that led to the death of a pedestrian.
IAM chief executive Simon Best told Business Vans: “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 while 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 a loudspeaker, it doesn’t matter. Using your ‘phone in any capacity reduces your attention from the task at hand – driving.”