Two-thirds believe that existing penalties are too softMost drivers believe the current £60 fine plus points for illegally chatting while driving is too lenient. Even though phoning on the move remains something many love to do – and 500 a day receive fines for breaking the law – a new survey shows two from three motorists would support stiffer penalties.

The research, by communications specialists Jabra, also shows that over half of the 2000 car owners they spoke to had felt their safety to be threatened by other road users hunched at the wheel as they talked on hand-held phones.

The survey found that of those who admitted breaking the law, a quarter did so because they believed the call was too important to miss, while a further one in four thought there was little chance that they’d get caught. Adding to this, only one in eight knew anyone who’d received a fine plus points, and only one in 30 confessed that they’d been caught.

All of which builds a picture of police struggling to enforce laws against an epidemic of illegal chatterers.

Meanwhile, new data from the AA reveals the hidden costs of breaking the phone-and-driving laws. The motoring organisation talked to eight insurers and discovered that all increased premiums for customers who collected points for this type of offence – by an average of £40 a year. Such a rise would typically remain for three years until the points became ‘spent’, bringing the bill all-up to £120. One insurer even refused to cover anyone having even a single mobile phone offence.

The AA said few drivers realised rises were likely.

Stephen Jury


May 26, 2008