Cell Phone Wielding UK Drivers Face Two Years in Jail

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
What does the word "draconian" mean to you? The Telegraph reports that tough new government guidelines allow UK judges to impose a two-year jail sentence on motorists caught driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone. The shift reflects a punitive upgrade. iDistraction moves from "careless driving" (£5k and up to nine points on a motorist's license) to "dangerous driving" (unlimited fine, two years in gaol and a license suspension). Motorists nabbed entering a sat-nav destination, spinning through an MP3 player menu or texting could also face prison sentences. But distracted drivers shouldn't 't worry too much, as "prosecutions will be brought if by using the equipment a motorist is judged to have posed a danger to other drivers, such as causing another car to swerve." C'mon? Swerve? What if the swerve is the result of the other driver using an iPod? What are we talking here, cell mates? Hang on folks, cause "drivers who kill while using mobile phones could be charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a 14-year jail term. In extreme cases they could be charged with manslaughter for which a life term can be imposed." Oh, and UK police now check phone records after accidents to see if the driver was making a call at the time of the crash. Fair enough?
Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Lewissalem Lewissalem on Dec 20, 2007

    Wouldn't it be easier to simply enforce bluetooth handsfree use? Oh, wait, there's no money to be made in doing that.

  • Jonathon Jonathon on Dec 20, 2007

    And anyway, haven't studies shown that the real problem is not having a cell phone in your hand, but being distracted by the phone conversation?

  • AKM AKM on Dec 20, 2007
    Oh, and UK police now check phone records after accidents to see if the driver was making a call at the time of the crash. Fair enough? That actually doesn't seem unreasonable, as it'll take place only after accidents occur. here's a novel idea: why wouldn't cars be equipped with cellphone disruptors to prevent in-car calls? Studies have shown that even handfree sets are highly disruptive of concentration. The only argument against this is that passengers couldn't call either.
  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Dec 20, 2007

    Responding to Jonathon, yes, the distraction of the conversation, not holding the phone, is the problem--along with dialing. In fact, per unit time, dialing is far more dangerous than holding the conversation. Although I strongly oppose cell phone use while driving, the UK seems ever more draconian re all things automotive. Reminds me of that old tea tax.