MOTORISTS FEEL the imminent stiffening in the penalty for using a phone at the wheel will not prove any more of a deterrent.
In a survey of 2,100 motorists carried out by the RAC two-thirds said the fine should increase to £200 and one-third said £450 would be the only effective punishment.
A consultation on harsher penalties for drivers caught using their phone ended in March, and the Department for Transport is due to publish proposals. The current £100 fine is expected to rise to £150, and the driver’s licence to be endorsed with four penalty points rather than three.
Mobile phone use was the top complaint of those drivers surveyed by the RAC. A tenth of respondents said anyone caught “dialling and driving” should be hit with an instant ban.
We conducted research last March that highlighted the dangers of so-called smartwatches. The devices, which are becoming more popular, can display text messages and emails and may, it seems, be more distracting than a smartphone.
This month psychologists from the University of Sussex have proposed a review of the law on hands-free calls and driving. They have established that drivers talking through a hands-free set can be just as distracted as those using a handheld phone. Conversations, particularly those that invoke visual imagery, lead the driver to picture what they are talking about, using part of the brain normally used to process visual information concerning the road ahead.