Not learning your lesson – Distracted drivers

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Conor Johnstone

Driving whilst distracted can be deadly. It can also be a criminal offence.

Data from a BBC Radio 5 Freedom of Information Request shows that almost 10,000 drivers have been caught twice in four years for being distracted whilst driving, this includes using a mobile phone or operating a sat-nav system.

The penalties may not be tough enough, meaning reoffending is common. Road safety charity ‘Brake’ say that authorities are not taking these offence “seriously enough”.

“It’s further evidence that the authorities are not taking illegal use of mobiles behind the wheel seriously enough.

“We need tougher sanctions on drivers who use their devices when driving, and that includes increasing both the fines and penalty points”,

said Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake.

The research shows that over the past four years, 238,694 people have been caught driving while distracted at least once, but only 284 have received a ban as a result.

Only recently, the government announced its intentions to increase penalties for mobile phone offences, potentially resulting in 6 points and a large fine. This will likely prompt an increase in those challenging offences or raising exceptional hardship arguments (if accruing 12 or more points in a three year period).

The findings come only a week after lorry driver, Tomasz Kroker, received a 10 year prison sentence for killing a mother and three children while distracted by his phone.

How many times drivers have received points for CU80 offences from 2012-2015:

  • Once – 228,301 drivers
  • Twice – 9,722 drivers
  • Three times – 638 drivers
  • Four times – 32 drivers
  • Five times – one driver

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