Brake supports proposed penalty point increase for risky mobile phone use

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the government is considering doubling penalty points for using a mobile phone while driving. The reports say the move has been recommended by Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has asked his officials to look into the idea.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "This is a welcome proposal, and we hope the government will implement it. Brake has long campaigned for tougher penalties for mobile phone use at the wheel because of the suffering we see the bereaved and injured victims of road crashes put through as the result of such a senseless and unnecessary risk. An increase in penalty points is a step in the right direction, but it could provide a more effective deterrent if combined with an increase in the fixed penalty fine to £500-1,000, as well as heightened traffic enforcement, so risky law-breaking drivers know they will not get away with it.

"It is also vitally important the government doesn't ignore the danger of hands-free mobiles. Research shows using a phone hands-free is about as risky as picking up the phone while driving, so this should be included within the ban, and carry the same penalty. Our message to drivers is clear: switch your phone off, put it out of sight and reach, and remove the temptation to jeopardise someone's life for the sake of a call or text."

A recent survey by Brake and Direct Line showed almost half of drivers admit using a mobile phone while driving, with the use of hands-free a growing danger.

Brake campaigns to stamp out the danger of mobile phones and other distractions at the wheel through its Drive smart campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #DriveSmart.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.