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The roads today are a lot more dangerous, and more busy than they used to be, so the one thing that’s essential to safe driving is concentrating on the road. Despite the number of accidents that have occurred because a driver was not paying sufficient attention to the road, people still indulge in dangerous habits. Common sense says that if you are reading or writing a text on your phone when you are behind the wheel, then you are not concentrating on the road in front of you.
Fining the Driver
If someone is caught using their mobile phone while they are driving, then they are committing an offence and can be prosecuted. Fines for texting while driving are set to be heavily increased, though fines themselves don’t seem to have stopped the practice. It’s clear that some people still think that they can get away with texting while driving, and don’t consider what they’re doing as dangerous. In future, if you are caught texting while driving, you will be fined up to £200 and could be given six points on your licence, which could mean a significant increase in your premiums when it’s time to renew your insurance. At present, the fine is £100 and three points on your licence, but the change is coming very soon.
While drivers of all types and ages may be guilty of texting while they are driving, many of them tend to be young drivers. If you’re a young or new driver and get caught texting while driving, then the punishments and penalties are going to be more severe under the new rules. Anyone caught texting while at the wheel more than once, could not only be taken to court if they are new drivers, they could be faced to retake their driving test – which will mean more expense.
The New Rules
The new rules have not yet come into force, but when they do, they will not be applicable to Northern Ireland, only to England, Scotland and Wales. A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport has said that the new rules are set to become operational in the early part of next year.
However, some people believe that the new rules are just not enough. If you are caught drink driving and someone dies, then you will end up in court, but this is not always the case for drivers using their mobiles. It could be argued that anything that affects your driving and makes you a danger to other road users should be treated the same as drinking and driving. Those people who have lost loved ones because another motorist was texting at the wheel, certainly believe that the changes are not good enough.
In cases where a person has been killed because a driver was texting, then criminal charges are brought, but it still seems that all too many people think that the law about texting while driving just doesn’t apply to them. If drivers must use their mobile phone, then they should wait until they can pull over and do so.