So says the Freight Transport Association (FTA) as the DfT issues its response to the consultation on ‘Penalties for use of a Hand Held Mobile Phone Whilst Driving’.
The DfT response outlines its plans to increase the fine from £100 to £200 and the penalty points from three to six for all drivers. Penalties would not differentiate between cars and HGVs and there will be no option to take a remedial course.
Ian Gallagher, FTA head of driver and vehicle licensing policy, said: “These proposed changes should go some way towards making all drivers think about the consequences of their actions. Vocational drivers also risk their livelihood as many of our members already have in place a zero tolerance for employees in breach of these rules.”
The FTA also welcomed the DfT’s commitment to provide additional guidance or advice and consider new technology where it aids detection and ensure effective prosecution by the police. It added that in its response to the initial consultation, the FTA highlighted concerns that there was a lack of proactive enforcement of this offence, suggesting that more needed to be done in this area.
Gallagher said: “FTA agrees that these increased penalties should work to dissuade use, particularly in new drivers who risk losing their licence altogether. However, what is needed is a new effort to ensure the rules are enforced. Without enforcement, increasing the fines and penalties could have little impact on habitual users.”
The FTA also greeted DfT plans to use technology to help with enforcement and reducing in-vehicle use.