Eight out of 10 drivers taking part think officers should be given the powers to seize and destroy
A new survey suggests that drivers in the UK caught using a mobile phone whilst driving should have their devices confiscated and then destroyed.
The survey involved quizzing more than 20,000 drivers, of which eight out of 10 (80%) believed that destroying an offenders mobile phone after they’ve been caught using it whilst behind the wheel was the right thing to do and that police should be given the power to be able to seize and destroy if necessary.
The AA claims the reason behind the backing from such a large percentage of those taking part was because many believe that the current penalties, despite being made tougher last year, are not a strong enough deterrent.
Of those questioned, around seven out of 10 (71%) think officers should be allowed to seize an offenders phone for one month, whilst the same thought the police should be able to lock the user out of their own phone for a month.
The current penalties for those caught using a mobile phone whilst driving are a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Furthermore, around three-fifth of drivers taking part in the survey thought that not having access to their phone for one week because it was either confiscated or locked would deter more drivers from picking up their device – 63% and 61% respectively.
Also, more than half (52%) of those taking part said that offending drivers should be named and shamed via a text message being sent out to all of their contacts who’ve been caught using their mobile phone.
According to the AA, since tougher penalties were introduced in 2017, the number of offenders has dropped by half within the first 12 months of changes.
“The police do have powers to seize cars driven without insurance and it seems a majority of drivers think similar policies towards using hand-held phones would be effective,” said Edmund King, president of the AA, adding: “The survey just goes to show the strength of public opinion that using your phone behind the wheel is socially unacceptable and should be treated severely.”
Following previous campaigns and advertisements by the AA, it was found that drivers are twice as likely to crash sending a text as you are drinking, yet most motorists wouldn’t ever consider drink driving.
Advice from the AA suggests that drivers should turn their glovebox into a phone box to keep their device in whilst behind the wheel – out of sight, out of mind.
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