Drivers who use mobile phones and Satnavs face TWO YEARS in jail in UK

In UK, Motorists who use a hand-held mobile phone or fiddle with a sat-nav could be jailed for two years under new rules being issued by the Crown Prosecution Service today.

Drivers who use mobile phones and Satnavs face TWO YEARS in jail in UK
Charges will be brought wherever prosecutors say using equipment - including devices such as the iPod - poses a danger.

Prosecutors say such actions could force a car to swerve or a distracted motorist jumping a red light.

Those who kill while using a mobile face 14 years behind bars, under a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

In extreme cases they could be charged with manslaughter for which a life term can be imposed.

A new offence of causing death by careless driving is to be created under the Road Safety Act.

The crackdown was announced earlier this year but the guidelines will apply to prosecutors from today. It comes as the latest Government figures show that up to 300,000 drivers are still driving illegally with hand-held mobile phones.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has updated its sentencing manual for dangerous driving. It now states that drivers convicted of dangerous driving risk two years' imprisonment, a fine, or both - as well as a mandatory driving disqualification.

The CPS manual says: 'Usually a custodial penalty is appropriate, especially where a number of aggravating factors combine.'

Among those aggravating factors it lists: 'Driving while the drivers' attention is avoidably distracted, for example by reading or by use of a mobile phone (especially if hand-held).'

Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving was made illegal in December 2003.

Section 26 of the Road Safety Act 2006 increased the fixed penalty for drivers using a hand held phone or similar device from 27 February 2007 - the penalty rose from £30 to £60 and three penalty points.

Drivers can also be prosecuted for failing to have proper control of a vehicle - such as being distracted by using a hands-free mobile phones.

The current offence of careless driving, used to punish people who drive unsafely by using a mobile or popular equipment such as a satellite-navigation system, carries only a £2,500 fine or community order.

But the new CPS rules give the authorities an even wider catch-all power.

Ken Macdonald QC, director of public prosecutions, said: 'There is widespread public concern about the use of mobile phones and other hand-held electronic equipment while driving.

'In cases where there is clear evidence that danger has been caused by their use - such as texting while driving - then our policy should spell out that the starting point for charging will be dangerous driving.'

More than 300,000 drivers a day are still illegally using hand-held phones at the wheel - despite an earlier toughening of the law, latest Government figures revealed in December.

The manual also lists driving when knowingly deprived of sleep, and driving a poorly maintained or dangerously loaded vehicle.'

Road safety campaigners say many drivers still flout the law, sometimes with fatal consequences. Trinity Taylor, 23, from Aldershot, died in 2005 after lorry driver John Payne ran into her car on the M3 in Basingstoke while using his mobile. Payne, 31, of Chesham, was jailed for four years.

But Edmund King, of the RAC Foundation, said existing punishments should be properly enforced - rather than a two-year jail term introduced now.

The trade journal Fleet News, aimed at the bosses of company car fleets said;'This clearly spells out that in the eyes of the law even using a Bluetooth hands-free phone while driving can led to a charge of dangerous driving.'

Today one of Britain's biggest companies is to ban all of its staff from using hands-free mobile phones when driving.

Transport giant First Group accepts research which suggests that the distraction danger from hands' free phones is just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone while driving.

The ban on making or taking calls - to be announced today (THURS) - applies from the chief executive down to the humblest company car or delivery driver and will come into effect from January.

Tests have also shown the reactions of a driver on a mobile phone to be 'worse than a drink-driver'

As a result the FTSE 100 firm - which runs a range of train and bus companies in the UK and US - has banned its 135,000 staff worldwide. including 35,000 in the UK.

Disciplinary action will be taken against employees who ignore the new rule.

Daily Mail

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Aralık 2007, 14:59