By on December 20, 2007

nmobile120.jpgWhat 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?

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5 Comments on “Cell Phone Wielding UK Drivers Face Two Years in Jail...”

  • avatar

    People get the government they vote for. If this all seems reasonable to some just wait until they are sent a summons in the mail to appear. Imagine the look on their faces as they see a photo camera shot of them looking at their dashboard in a car with the charge of distracted driving under it.

    In the end it’s all about the fines and getting people to surrender their cars over there. In the US large cities will follow this folly with similar rules, the difference being we have more constitutional protections and 50 states to choose from.

    When your living in a Island Nation with no where to go a small vocal minority gets to set the rules. I was surprised how many people I talked to wanted to leave the UK when I visited last year. It’s not just the driving fines or the cost of living, it’s the very idea that they are lab rats being jerked around by an increasingly hostile government.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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?

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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