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Drivers Face Tough New Penalties For Using Hand-Held Mobile

New penalties explained, how many points for a ban, plus the percentage of motorists that currently break the law.

Penalties for using a hand-held mobile

The Government plans to double the penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel in the first half of 2017, it confirmed. Drivers in England, Scotland and Wales that (say) text or answer a call will receive six penalty points - rather than three as present – and the fine will increase from £100 up to £200.

Number of penalty points for a ban

Experienced motorists can be banned if they collect twelve points in total. Exceptions, however, include those that successfully argue a ban would cause undue hardship such as (say) loss of career. The Government confirmed that likely ban scenarios include:

  • six month ban for receiving twelve, or more, points within three years;
  • twelve month ban for receiving a second disqualification within three years;
  • two year ban for receiving a third disqualification.

On this basis, six penalty points for using a hand-held mobile equates to a two strike and out rule. Motorists that are banned for fifty-six days or greater must later apply for a replacement licence and – perhaps – pass the practical/theory driving test too.

Drivers that passed the practical test within the last two years can be banned if they receive six points, in contrast. A single phone offence will, therefore, be enough for a ban. New drivers must resit both the practical and theory test to reclaim a licence. 

Survey reveals driver behaviour

The RAC claimed that the number of motorists that use a hand-held mobile phone is of “epidemic proportions”. It added that attitudes have changed for the worse since 2014. Its 2016 research suggested:

  • the percentage of motorists that claim it is “acceptable” to “take a quick call” is fourteen (compared to seven in 2014);
  • the percentage that claim it is “safe” to check social media while stationary in traffic is twenty (compared to fourteen in 2014);
  • the percentage of motorists that text, e-mail or post to social media is nineteen (compared to seven percent in 2014).

Pete Williams, RAC Road Safety Spokesman, said: ‘Toughening the fine and the penalty points will help to deter people from doing it in the first place.” 

“However, it is just as important that laws are seen to be enforced. The decline in the numbers of dedicated road traffic police has only heightened the feeling that those who use a hand-held phone while driving simply get away with it”, Williams added.

Police ready to enforce new rules

Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, said: “We will support these new measures with local action and national operations to keep our roads safe.” Ms Davenport continued: “Drivers also need to take responsibility and exert some social pressure on family and friends who take the risk”

 

 

About time this happened. A few months ago a woman nearly crashed into me head-on as she was talking on a hand held mobile phone. She came around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road. She had lost control of her car. The only way to get her off the phone and to unblock the road was to get out of my car and shout at the top of my voice "GET OFF YOUR PHONE!" These people need reminding in whatever way works that phone calls and driving do not mix safely. If that means larger fines, more points, or even a ban to get the message across, then so be it.

What will be frustrating is the lack of police to apply this law as we all know that this is a crime that takes place when driver's can't see any police, and out comes the phone. They should allow any camera or CCTV to catch drivers using phones and outlaw it once and for all

Unfortunately this is a black and white offence - which makes for stupid law, someone stuck in a traffic jam or even parked (technically still in charge) while in the drivers seat with no movement gets the same penalty as someone driving out of control, crossing traffic lights at red etc., etc. On one side the penalty is not high enough, on the other side the offence is a ridiculous one!

Excellent news, Every day without fail I see numerous drivers using their phones.....however what is the point if there are never any police around to spot it happening?

I completely agree with this legislation - it's so much about getting the habit formed for new drivers so that it becomes the norm to not use your phone at the wheel. However, as I understand it - if the device is attached to the car, then the rules are different - so will this lead to a mass market of "steering wheel phone holders" and similar so that those who just can't wait to check Facebook or answer a text will have their eyes even further away from "in front" whilst distracted? Is the law going far enough? How about we have a universal method to communicate to any driver seen on a phone - i propose "3 hoots" = "Get off your phone" - so , if you ever hear this, you and you're on the phone - people around you have clocked it and they're not impressed. Plus if you hear this and you AREN'T on the phone, you also do it! That may help to get the message across.

Common sense ought to prevail. In stationary traffic there should be no offence, only in as moving vehicle, however slow it moves. Yes increase the points and fine for moving vehicle offences

Next thing 20 years deathly causing serious injury by dangerous driving

fully agree with this it should have happened a long time ago only today in Newark saw a lorry driver on the phone.

It is asking the general public to put pressure on people they see using mobile phones whilst driving , in my experience when you do this you get verbally abused and even a threat of violence. We need more police back on our roads not just to enforce this but to help get general driving standards back on our roads

Should put fine for using phone while driving up to £1000 and banned for 12 months

Many years ago before it became illegal I answered a call while on the M25. It took about 20 to 30 seconds and when I rang off I realised that I had no idea what had happened in the last half mile. I never answered a call again!

Hope it works. It hasn't been publicised much yet, and people need to know about the changes for it to work. There is absolutely no excuse for manually answering or making a call whilst driving. Bluetooth speakers are very cheap and anyone who thinks they can look at a phone screen and drive safely at the same time want their heads examined. Someone in this discussion says that you can be prosecuted whilst parked up. Hopefully this is not true, as that would be ludicrous.

Still not harsh enough, a total driving ban for 3 years and a retest after with a £5000 fine. People and kids killed through texting, i saw a new "P" driver texting at 70 with both hands on the phone, disgraceful. Throw the book at them all....

Unfortunately the law des not define being in charge of a vehicle clearly and its mainly by case law. It appears that you just need to be able to exercise control of the vehicle - Sat in the drivers seat is enough to do that, even with the engine off. So don't sit in a public car park using your mobile phone you could get 6 points - stupid but that's the law for you! Laws often reflect their makers, so its not surprising that laws are often badly worded, rushed and do unexpected things as they are created by politicians, who are more often than not illogical, unthinking idiots. Leaving the more intelligent and rational (normally) judiciary to sort out the mess - Not just talking about motoring law here!

I have no problem with a points penalty, like jail time, licence points are theoretically the same for everyone rich or poor. It is the financial penalty aspect that is the problem. Fixed financial penalties were supposed to deliver justice and clear the courts according to Thatcher. They were supposed to replace a system of court imposed fines that comprised an element of penalty for offending and an element of discouragement from reoffending. The means of an offender was examined by the court and within limits the resulting fine was adjusted to be painful but affordable. There are three million drivers in this country who are officially recognised as poor and fixed financial penalties discriminate against the poor deeply by punishing them proportionately more harshly than wealthier drivers and sometimes causing severe hardship, something the Human Rights legislation is supposed to protect people from. A sixty quid penalty creates a financial hole equivalent to nearly two weeks eating money for lots of people and can take many months to refill while on the other hand £60 is seen as a reasonable price to park wherever and whenever for lots of drivers at the other end of the scale. In a modern democracy where everyone is supposed to enjoy equality under the Law the situation where a poor person must be more Law-abiding than any other class is completely unacceptable. Fixed financial penalties currently are not fit for purpose. What should happen is those penalties should be proportionately equal for all classes. The punishment of £60 for a basic pensioner or a member of the working poor would need to be in excess of £2000 to provide the same level of punishment for the average Chief constable, for instance, achieved by requiring the level of penalty to be a "fixed" percentage of income. There is a couple of further problems. Automatic policing doesn't listen to reasonable excuses and electing to go to court is not a viable substitute. This is not policing as part of a justice system but simple enforcement direct from Orwell's 1984. If it hadn't been for a media storm about an ambulance driver on a mercy dash with a transplant organ, his speeding offence would have resulted in points and a fine. An acquaintance with Crohn's disease hurrying for obvious reasons wasn't lucky enough to warrant a media storm. Having a chat recently with a police officer I was disgusted to discover he knew nothing about his responsibilities under the English Common Law or the Human Rights Legislation and what is more he didn't seem to care. He also claimed to know nothing about a Parliamentary request for authorities "not to use Laws to catch out or penalise the normally law-abiding person who has made a rare or isolated mistake". It seems police officers today are like doctors in that they know less and less about more and more...

I do not think it is enough. A driver using a mobile is as much danger on the road as a drunk and should be treated accordingly. They should be banned from driving for a year and fined a similar amount to a drink/driver. We should be looking at possible harm to victims and not whether it is fair to drivers who do this.

This is not good news for motorists. Almost every new car today has 'touch-screen' control of the in-car services available. Using this device means taking your eye off the road, even for a few seconds. Much the same as using a mobile phone whilst driving. Clarification is needed. Of course a 'hands-free' device with 'bluetooth' connection for using mobile phones in-car has been available for almost two decades in Britain.The phone remains in your pocket whilst in use. This is operated by a button on the steering wheel, causing no more distraction to the driver than operating the wiper switch.

A driver with no bank balance, against a driver with a 6 figure income. Both can KILL when holding a mobile whilst driving. What about the victim's dependents? The "poor" driver can't be THAT poor if he owns a vehicle AND a mobile 'phone. Whilst this is a generally unenforceable law, the penalties for those who break it should NOT depend on their income. That COULD lead a magistrate to charge a rich man£1,000 to cover the poor man's release with a caution.( because HE can't afford the fine). In furtherance of your Orwellian suggestion, might I also make the point that the State might make a law prohibiting anyone but the driver from riding in a vehicle, since all other occupants, in MY experience, form a distraction from the 100% concentration that should be the norm today?

I ask the question about why all these motorists have not invested in a 'blue tooth' device so as to be able to use a mobile phone hands-free whilst driving. Surely the legislation ought to make using this facility compulsory now?

Every time I drive I see people using their mobile phones while driving ( not being sexist but I see more women using mobiles while driving than I do men ) I really detest these ignorant dangerous drivers and in particular the ones who tail gate you while on their mobile phone. I and a number of my friends and family strongly feel that using a mobile while driving should carry an automatic 12 month driving ban, then perhaps these ignorant dangerous idiots will get the message?

step in the right direction but i thin kthey should give the ban to all drivers straight away if caught once (not just the ones who have passed recently). all it takesis 1 chance to kill somebody. so give everybody 1 tick and your out!

Yeah unfortunately some people can't carry on a conversation and drive at the same time bluetooth or no bluetooth...

No different from having a passenger in the car with whom you are holding a conversation. A lack of attention whilst driving is the primary cause of accidents.

All it needs now is for Police Service to enforce, and the justice system to support them. I see people using their phone whilst driving on a daily basis. However is this to be extended to police drivers using handheld communication devices aswell, especially when driving at speed????double standards!!!

Alan, in your own angry and narrow minded way you have completely missed the point... In the real world lots of people are THAT poor and own a phone and a vehicle. My own phone cost me one penny and the sim card cost nothing. My car is essential for my work and cost virtually nothing. My budget is so tight finding an extra gallon of fuel would be a strain and because the promised fully integrated public transport system never materialised there are three million drivers just like me. It isn't just the working poor who have to travel sometimes stupid distances to work but even rural dwelling basic pensioners who must be mobile or starve. All this is besides the point; my comments were about much more than phones but about a growing inequality in Law, justice and society, coppers that don't care but see fixed penalties as an easy way of collecting brownie points and governments that represent and condone the unacceptable face of capitalism. The last half century has seen attitudes reemerge in the ruling classes that previously had begun to die out at the end of the eighteenth century and had all but disappeared by 1945. The situation is a cause for serious concern as Law, justice and a fair society - how the sick and the old are treated are essential markers of civilisation Civilisation just now is disappearing into the distance...

My reply to you was not sent in anger Vernon. It was an answer to the clear point YOU made that the fines for using a hand held mobile should be varied according to the financial circumstances of the criminal committing the offence. I quite simply stated that a poor person driving and 'using', can kill just as many people as a rich person.. Can you argue against that? And that being the case, Vernon, the punishment should fit the crime identically for everyone and not be dependent on the means of the culprit. Coming to your further point raised; that you only paid a penny for your 'phone, and your sim card was free. How much do you pay monthly for your contract, and how many loaves of bread and pints of milk could THAT money buy? You appear to be one of these people who drive yourself to the food bank ! And here's a thought for you to mull over. Going entirely on your compilation of these postings, you are quite obviously a well educated person. Should YOU therefore pay a higher fine for this offence because YOU would be determined as knowing better about the possible consequences, than a semi-literate driver? Oh yes! And I am an 80 year old rural pensioner with a once every 2 hours 'bus service, and a devoted believer in the late, great, Margaret Thatcher. I am worldly wise. I have 12 grandchildren, and was a professional driver in my working life. I don't get angry - but I do like to reply to life's perpetual moaners, of which YOU appear to be one. The law is just, and the applicable fine is justice for ALL. P.S. How much did you spend on your computer, and your Broadband connection?

Not severe enough! It should be 10 points and £1000 fine then people would take more note!

My computer was one somebody put out for the garbage and therefore free, my broadband is also free and I don't have a mobile contract but top up as and when funds allow, currently a fiver every couple of months. I wouldn't have bothered with a mobile phone at all had I not needed it for work and I wouldn't be posting here if I didn't need to take so much rest. I am in the unfortunate position of being too disabled to work very much but not sufficiently disabled to qualify for any sort of disability benefit under these new regimes leaving finances stretched and the budget carefully balanced and almost exclusively consumed by essentials. We don't use Foodbanks but we necessarily must haunt the supermarkets for end-of-day reductions and in these circumstances we are far from alone... I am sure you didn't mean to imply semi-literate people are unintelligent. My comments were about ALL financial penalties and the article about phones was merely the catalyst for them. Certainly the punishment should fit the crime - every crime and misdemeanor and every class. The punishment should hurt every offender equally and if that doesn't happen justice is not served and the majority of society is betrayed. The only way for financial penalties to hurt every class equally is to make them proportionately equal. My comments and attitude have nothing whatsoever to do with the outrage of drivers using or not using phones while driving but is about the mentality of the authorities and government that is bound up in enforcement rather than justice. I am not well educated but merely an averagely educated average Englishman but I am well educated enough to know the difference between enforcement, punishment and justice. As far as Margaret Thatcher is concerned, she offset all the good she did by attempting to make Britain into a "little America" and giving the unacceptable face of capitalism the support and credibility Englishness would not have otherwise have tolerated. She made "sharp practice" and stealing pension funds acceptable pursuits, almost single-handedly she created a very damaging inflationary spiral and when she gained power Britain led the world in hydrogen technology yet less than a fortnight later we trailed behind the rest of the world. Her slavish pursuit of her own dogma squandered North Sea gas and prevented Britain investing in the development of carbon capture technology. Heath, Wilson and Major were far better Prime Ministers - that's right, one Labour and two Tories. I am pleased to be a constant "moaner". I am a proper Englishman and my father's son. It is my duty to moan constantly about almost any stupidity, unfairness or injustice. I am pleased to hear your village is served so well by public transport. Few villages around here have a bus service that numbers more than two per week and some are completely devoid of any service. This area is not unique...

I entered this debate to state simply that the new fines and penalties will justifiably apply to ALL offenders. I don't think you will find any other contributor than yourself who disagrees with that. The fine and pints being upgraded to deter EVERYONE from the careless attitude. The remainder of your diatribe about free computers; free broadband; a fiver every couple of months for the 1p 'phone you obtained, and your late night visits to supermarkets, ( presumably in the car you can't afford to run), and disabilities that don't qualify for allowances, but restrict your working capacities - I won't bother to enter into - since I don't believe a word of it! Goodnight Vernon.

There are those pre-18th century attitudes again. The ruling and middle classes believed the poor were made poor because they were all dishonest and immoral and the poor had less value than the beasts of the field and they would be executed at the slightest excuse while others often received purely nominal penalties for really heinous crimes. It was around the end of the 18th century the idea of the "respectable poor" emerged and gradually the idea took root that the poor were often honest, moral and worthy of a helping hand. That situation lasted until about 1972... From that time the establishment was fairly apologetic about the ending of the respectable poor movement until Thatcherism introduced American style capitalism here that only works efficiently when there is a huge surplus of underfed, underprivileged and undereducated population and since that time an increasing number has joined those ranks of "engineered" poor people. Those who choose not to know this are just like those from history who executed millions, often without excuse and often just for entertainment. For the last time I hope, equal penalties do not provide equal punishment and only equal punishment provides justice for society. Our supermarkets, incidentally, are within easy walking distance. I have also been insulted by better men than you Alan. Goodnight.

And I can see how you would deserve to be Vernon.

I am nothing if I am not controversial Alan. It is only those with narrow closed minds that insult me, mostly because they can't or won't grasp the simplest of concepts; like how justice rather than punishment should be equal. Fixed penalties is a device imported into our legal system for the sole purpose of making life easier for the financial and political elite that before we became entangled with Europe almost did not exist in English Law. Before Europe, English Law said a person cannot be fined "until the means of paying the fine has been examined". Now that is justice while the current fixed penalties system is merely the Law of convenience. The most surprising thing is how easily the modern peasantry has been led by the nose into what is for them an inherently unfair system, just as easily as earlier peasantries had been led by the nose into many things that were against their interests - State-run or State sponsored religion for instance, where rulers from before the Romans throughout history, including our own Royal governments, would hijack a belief system and use it as an administrative tool to make their lives easier and more profitable.

For ME Vernon - your first three words sum you up perfectly. "I am nothing" -(trying desperately to be SOMETHING.) I have a life. I'm off to continue enjoying it - WITHOUT COMPLAINT, no matter what! Debate over.

Witty Alan, very witty. The lowest form but still witty... Clearly I am not nothing because if I am I could not have irritated you in the least and yet I seem to have done exactly that. Hardly a debate Alan - merely me trying to defend our traditional rights and freedoms and you telling me I am wrong but without giving any reasoned argument. At the age of 80 you have every right not to be interested in or care about others. You have every right to enjoy living your life and it would hardly affect you if the sky fell down tomorrow for the whole world as long as you are ok. You believe you are entitled to your opinions but opinions without reasoned arguments to support them are exactly the nothing you accuse me of being. Opinions without reasoned argument are the noises made by babies, by bigots and the autocratic, the narcissistic, the ignorant... As that old tv advert said - those who don't "do" politics have no right to an opinion about anything... Enjoy your life Alan.

A reasoned argument like " It wouldn't affect me if the sky fell in tomorrow". Or even if I died tomorrow. I've had 80 years. Why would I be affected at the thought even, of dying tomorrow? In my 80 years I have seen the good, the bad, and the downright heinous actions of man and I have lived through them. I have also come across so many 'men' who rant about the faults of others, but that's ALL they do. The perpetual moaners. The type of which YOU are a prime example. You want a reasoned argument to counter YOUR view on this matter? How about, If you can't afford the fine, don't commit the crime!? Now away to your fantasy world of free broadband; penny mobiles and anti-government blather. I assure you Vernon - in 21st century Britain - nobody's listening - or can't be arsed to do anything about these 'inequalities'. Stirring up discontent is a terrible way to use the life that was given to you.

I have a camera in my car to witness idiot drivers. What stops us from sending evidence to the police?

If stirring up discontent is such a terrible way of life I wonder why so many people have made politics a career. I wager there is 10,000 full and part-time perpetual moaners in this country and probably as many as ten times that number of amateurs, which along with the analysts, journalists, union members and all the other interested parties and the ordinary political party members I expect there are a million plus people in this country who are serious about politics. I guess they are all wasting their lives too. While most of them are wanting something for themselves or their supporters, I am sure a significant number genuinely want this country to be a better and fairer place for everyone, just as I do and in the days of your youth a huge majority wanted this too, wanted the broken promises of 1914/18 to be made good and this country really to be "a place fit for heroes" and wanted it enough that big and good changes were made. Since Europe lots of the good has been steadily eroded from those changes and I believe that is something worthy of constant moaning. Lots of people who fought and brought about those good changes are no longer here to moan for themselves. I expect you believe that is a good thing... The growing inequalities of various sorts here are a huge concern to lots of people, probably a quarter of our population is concerned about some shortcomings of our administration. This incidentally is just a guesstimate based on the turnout and the successful vote for Brexit. People who are happy and satisfied don't tend to vote. I know there are at least three million people concerned about similar inequalities as my own concerns but mostly they haven't the time, energy or will to do anything about them because mostly they feel the government doesn't give a damn. I don't think I have ever actually ranted about the faults of anyone. I like your reasoned argument that basically says if a person can afford to pay the fine it is ok for them to commit the crime. It really wasn't much of a reasoned argument, more just a repeat of your original opinion. A reasoned argument would seek to justify the increase in inequality and the reduction in justice such measures take by discussing them from a variety of different directions and not merely express an opinion.

Stirring up discontent can only have one end product. Discontent. Misery and frustration stem from discontent, and the current malaise of today's generations, that being that they are ENTITLED to have what everyone else has, whether they can afford it, or not. It leads to suicides from those who are unable to accept that they are not equipped, mentally and/or physically to match the achievements of their betters. And that depression is fuelled by the malcontents such as yourself who obviously has a chip on your shoulder the size of the rock of Gibraltar against the rich and powerful. The rich and powerful - you know - the people who have worked hard to make a true success of their lives. The people who have put actual EFFORT into their lives. THEY are not the people who TALK about what should be. They get up off their arses and DO. And people like ME - we follow them in their successes, happy to be led by people with more get up and go than we have. People like me who fully understand when somethings cannot be changed. People like me that understand that everyone has a place in life. The place they create for themselves by their physical effort. People like me that refuse to listen to the nay-sayers of this world. Through MY actions throughout my life, I am fairly obviously in a far more happy and contented place than you are. Will you EVER accept that you will never change the inequalities of life? In the case under discussion, there is no inequality. The rich and the poor alike have vehicles. The rich and the poor have mobile 'phones. The rich and the poor choose whether to break the law and use their hand held 'phones whilst driving. And it is 100% right that the penalties should be identical for both. YOU don't have a VALID argument against that, despite all your semi-political bull and bluster.

Welcome back Alan. Your last is more like it. So many were just like you Alan, the lions of England being led by donkeys straight into the trenches of the first world war. The reason things were like that is ordinary people had less value to the ruling classes than the beasts in their fields. Our underlying class system is not so different from the Caste system of India in many respects. Things did change and now they are being changed back again and those changes must be resisted... There is not much point going any further. I clearly don't speak your language. It is clear for some as yet unknown reason my comments have put a bee under your bonnet and caused you to commit the cardinal sin of manners by judging me and insulting me even though you don't know me. You clearly have a strong opinion that it is right for fixed penalties of all sorts to discriminate heavily against the poor while punishing the rich not at all. Please just tell me why you believe this is right and how you believe such a system delivers justice for the whole of society? This is nothing to do with phones ar any particular offence just the principle of fixed penalties as part of a justice system? I will wait patiently for your reasoned argument.

Let me turn your argument back on you. Rich man 'A', and poor man 'B' both opt to use their hand held 'phones whilst driving. In doing so , they both mow down and severely injure members of the public. Should the poor driver receive a lesser sentence/fine, than the rich man, just because he has a lower financial position in life? What kind of equal justice is that for the victim and his family? The whole premise of YOUR argument is that the poor, downtrodden of this world, should strive for and be given equality. Surely this MUST apply to the penalties for breaking the law of the land? Your turning round of my argument that if you can't afford the fine - don't commit the crime, into this gives licence to the rich man to continue because he can afford it leaves open the that the poor man, paying the lesser fine is also encouraged to continue with the crime BECAUSE he is going to pay a fine that is considered to be within his means! Yes!? And you will eventually learn as your years advance, that people of MY age - people with years of living behind them, don't get irritated by people with different opinions. YOURS is an opinion. Not a valid argument, and you may have noticed that no other contributor to this 'debate' is in agreement with you. Or are you too tunnel visioned to seek other opinion?

Now you are being silly Alan. You haven't given me any reasons, just merely your opinion again in a different way and you simply can't get those phones out of your head. Clearly if both rich and poor guy mowed folk down the last thing they would be facing is a fixed penalty for using a phone. Both would have their day in court and both be given jail time and a good job too. Phones while driving is such an emotive subject, like Dunblane for instance, it is difficult for folk to be completely detached and objective during a discussion about such things and impossible for some folk. The principle of inequality transcends emotive issues such as those and demands a more detached and altogether wider consideration. All I am saying is the rules of society should be fair to all and penalties should present equal punishment regardless of class and the only way to do that is to vary the penalties. The penalty must be considered as completely separate from the punishment. Have another crack at it Alan. I am sure you will eventually get the idea as soon as you get rid of all that emotion about the phones and people getting mown down and apply some good English logic to the problem of how to get fair and equal justice for all classes of society.

Can I remind you Vernon - the topic under debate is the increase in fines and penalty points for the illegal use of hand held mobiles whilst driving. It is not YOU against the world and how you feel you are being downtrodden. Your inability to handle the matter in a sensible way bring about an end to the debate for me - and YOU lose! You have to face up to the fact that ever since homo sapiens discovered that one was stronger, or more intelligent than another, there has been inequality, and NOTHING will ever change that., but the fair minded in this country will ALWAYS ask why one man receives a cheaper fine than another for the identical offence of using a hand held mobile whilst at the wheel. But they won't have to, because it won't happen. It is a fixed penalty for all.

I must say it has made a pleasant change sparring with you Alan. Work will keep me offline for a little while and I must say I have rarely encountered such a wind-up merchant as you, a bullshitter of the first order. I bet you are a real social chameleon. I congratulate you; so until the next time...

There won't be a next time Vernon. Some you win. Some you lose. YOUY lost, and will lose every time because your arguments are porous enough to drive a tank through. If you want to gain a point in future, try adhering to the truth in everything you write. For example - " Work will keep me offline for a little while". Truthfully that should read - "You are right. I have no satisfactory response to your argument". "My computer was thrown out for trash". My broadband is free and my mobile cost me 1p ". And despite all this work that you will be doing that will keep you away from the computer, it must be unpaid if you have to struggle to put fuel in your car. I could go on - about the disability that you can't claim benefit on - but I don't think I need to. So NO! There won't be a next time Vernon......

All this reminds me of a guy I used to know who was tolerated at the Conservative Club but who could never find a snooker partner. Whatever the issue under discussion he would contradict even when it was against his own interest. It seemed as though some deep psychological event in his past had caused him to be that way. He simply could not resist the urge to contradict. My feelings about the unfair principle of all fixed penalties are shared by the majority of my circle and that is good enough for me. I don't care what you or others think or say or how much you try and ridicule me personally. It is shameful though that you haven't the wit or imagination to realise some of the working poor of this country are among the poorest of our society, a situation directly related to Thatcherism. It is also unwise to base any opinions on the assumption that people do not need protecting from both deliberate and accidental miscarriages of justice, both of which aren't uncommon in the conveyor-belt mentality and administration of fixed penalties, also a product of Thatcherism. Those are my last words on the subject. I fully expect you to make another post as just like the guy I used to know I think you have an irresistible need to have the last word in any argument. Be my guest...

Speaking as a truck driver and an occasonal motorcyclist I also see many clowns - yes killer clowns - using their phones when they should not. Since my working life lifts my eyes 10 feet above the road I am able to see in a way that the average motorist cannot - i.e. down into cars and vans. It is rare that I travel in traffic without seeing at least one of the above clowns. In traffic I use my very loud air-horn to try to persuade said clowns to desist but this invariably results in rude signs/verbal abuse or both. I do agree with a different poster that dashcam footage should be sent to police and offenders should be prosecuted on every occasion but I disagree with Vernon Taylor who suggests that fixed penalties are unfair since financially they are disproportionate to income level. The whole point is that they are a means of dealing with dangerous behaviour whilst driving. Whilst he may have a moral point it is still necessary to be practical. If you choose to break the law then you are subject to its sanction equally. On a practical basis it would completely clog up the justice system if every driving case were to go before a court, not to mention the cost to us as taxpayers who would have to fund the whole system. I think the idea of developing a system of letting the clown know he/she has been seen is a good one. In France some years ago they had a similar system which involved pointing at errant motorists with a particular hand-shape. (No - not that shape!) Maybe somebody could develop the same or similar here?

So everyone in traffic applies the handbrake and selects neutral before picking up the phone? I think not. Yesterday I was using a pedestrian crossing and a driver crossed through a red light to stop on the crossing blocking my path. They were not using their phone! So god knows how badly they might drive if they decide to 'just have a quick look at my messages'!

The term 'Police drivers' can be misconstrued. A 'Police Driver' is one trained to drive at a standard most of can only dream about. The top level are Police Class 1 drivers who are employed either in motorway patrol cars or, if they have been further trained, on marked Police bikes. Police officers can be seen driving police vehicles - I'll call them local since I can't think what else to call them - but they are not necessarily trained to the same extent. No police driver will be permitted to use a mobile phone while driving no matter what their level of training since to do so is to commit an offence. Some police drivers have been given training to enable them to use hand-held comms devices safely. Ambulance drivers are in that same category but fire service drivers always drive with the appliance crew aboard since it would be pretty stupid to have to return to the fire station to collect them in the event they were given a shout whilst on routine fire prevention duties.

If you use the phone in the driving seat the handbrake must be applied and the ignition off. Otherwise there is the possibility the vehicle could move. In those circumstances you would not be prosecuted. So long as you didn't pick up the phone before those 2 actions were complete...

Thanks. You e put my mind at rest and restored my faith in common sense :) .