Automotive Industry Digest

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Politics and regulation

RAC comment on Government’s pledge to review offence of driving while using handheld phone

The Government is today pledging to review the offence of driving with a handheld mobile device.  The news comes as a response to the Transport Select Committee’s ‘Report on Road Safety: Driving while using a mobile phone’, which was published in August.

RAC road safety spokesperson Simon Williams said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to review the offence with a view to closing the existing loophole. It seems very wrong that prosecutions can currently only be made if drivers are using a handheld phone for the purposes of communication when there are so many other ways of using a smartphone, such as taking pictures, filming or selecting music, which put the lives of other road users at risk.

“We know from RAC research that 17% of drivers admit to checking texts, email or social media while driving, but worryingly this is much higher among those under-25, with 35% saying they do this.

“It should also be said that tightening the offence, along with increasing the penalty two years ago, is only as powerful as the level of enforcement. In the absence of technology being used to catch offenders, the decline in the number of roads police officers means there is a much lesser chance of being caught in person today than there was 10 years ago.”

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