This is one topic that really does make my blood boil. I cannot believe how much there has been in the press recently about innocent people being the victims of mobile phone users behind the wheel. Why do these people never learn? Why do they not stop for a moment and realise how much of a distraction there mobile phone is and how much of a risk they are taking when using it whilst driving.
This week I read the article about the cyclist from Hampshire, Lee Martin, who was killed by a van driver using his mobile phone in 2015. I was even more shocked to read that the driver had still been allowed to continue driving despite six previous convictions for using a phone at the wheel. I ask myself, why was this driver not given a driving ban sooner? It’s taken six previous convictions and the death of an innocent man to get people like this off the road.
I also read about the lorry driver who got distracted opening a text message and crashed into an off-duty police officer’s car in June 2014. Sadly the police officer was killed. The lorry driver was recently jailed for 6 years.
Why not wait until you have stopped driving before opening up a text message or answering a call? Is this just not common sense? That split second of distraction is enough to cause a serious accident or kill someone.
Interestingly there has then been the recent announcement from the Government that drivers caught using phones will face double points and fines. Offenders will get 6 points and face a fine of £200 as opposed to the current 3 points and a £100 fine. In my opinion this still isn’t a tough enough penalty to stop offenders and won’t deter them from continuing to use their phone behind the wheel. Personally I think the only way to try and make people realise the dangers is to put them on an immediate ban, just like you would a drink driver.
I have driven for many years now and I definitely see more people using mobile phones whilst driving than I ever have before, and to be honest the offenders seem to be older rather than the younger inexperienced drivers. What kind of example are we setting?
Things really have to change and if people realise the much tougher penalties of getting caught it might just save a few more lives.
Brake, the road safety charity has a link on their website to sign a petition to strengthen sentencing for criminal drivers who kill or cause serious injuries. I urge people to sign this. The more people that do, the more chance there is of changes to the criminal driving laws and stronger sentencing.
Road Safety Week is coming up between 21st and 27th November. This is a fantastic event where you can involve your local community, schools and even your workplace to raise awareness about what we can all do to prevent tragedies and how to make our roads safer. I am delighted to be going into a local school next month to give a talk to Key stage 1 and 2 children to ensure they have a good understanding on road safety.
About the author
Laura Reaney is a litigator within Spencers Solicitors Complex Injury team. Laura has extensive experience in dealing with claimants that have complex and serious injuries, and over the years has worked on various cases including those involving back and spinal injuries.
Laura's last blog was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.