Police should destroy phones of distracted drivers, say motorists

A survey by the AA found that motorists greatly supported tougher penalties for drivers who use a phone while driving

Eight out of 10 motorists have said that destroying the mobile phones of drivers caught using them behind the wheel would be a better deterrent than the current punishment.

An AA poll asked drivers what would work better to stop people using a phone while at the wheel, including suggestions such as police having the power to lock, confiscate and even destroy phones.

Over 20,000 motorists took part in the survey, which aims to highlight the level of public support for discouraging motorists from using a mobile at the wheel.

Eighty per cent of motorists thought that the police should be able to seize and destroy phones at the roadside, while 71 per cent believed that those caught should have their phone confiscated from them for a month. Another 63 per cent thought police should be able to confiscate the phone for a week.

More than half (52 per cent) thought that police should be able to name and shame a person, by texting their contacts to say they’d been caught.

The punishment for using a phone while driving doubled in March 2017 – increasing to a £200 fine and six points on a person’s licence. Drivers who have been qualified for less than two years face losing their licence if caught just once using a phone at the wheel.

The tougher penalties have led to signs of discouragement, with a Freedom of Information investigation by the AA finding that the number of drivers caught using a phone at the wheel nearly halved in the nine months following the introduction of the tougher penalties, compared with the same period in 2016.

AA president Edmund King said: “Doubling the fine and points seems to have encouraged some drivers to leave their phones alone, but 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.”

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