Should Penalties for Risk Takers be Increased?

Motorhome insurance providers may have to re-examine how they set their insurance premiums in future if the Government acts on the results of a survey conducted by road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist.

It is clear from the survey that the general public feel that harsher penalties for drivers caught using hand held mobile devices should be introduced immediately, and that more should be done to catch the thousands of drivers who abuse the law every day. It is a view that will be shared by many in the motorhome and campervan insurance business.

At the moment drivers prosecuted for using a hand held device are given three points on their driving licence and a £60 fine; over 90% of drivers surveyed think the fine should be at least £100 with over 80% also urging the points tally to be raised to six points. Interestingly enough the general public also have the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on their side as he suggested a similar penalty in a recent radio programme. In the interview he also suggested that a driving ban for a second similar offence would drastically cut the number of people risking picking up a mobile phone when driving. In fact 210,000 people were prosecuted for using a mobile device last year and many observers think the figure for this year will be even higher unless the penalties become more draconian.

There is no doubt that using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous; statistics show that motorists are four times more likely to have an accident if they are using a mobile phone, which is probably explained by research that shows drivers reaction times drop by 50% when they speak or text while in control of a vehicle. However, it may well be sound advice to toughen up the law now while public support is evident, because mobile phones become ever more advanced and offer more and more varieties of use. The longer the law remains lenient, the longer it will take to wean the risk takers away from the danger.

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