On April 25th 2012 Ian was waiting at the bus stop for the bus to work at 7am. He had moved away from the actual stop to make a mobile telephone call. At this point a car turned left onto the main road. An eye witness said that the driver was clearly distracted by something, failed to straighten the car and affected what was in actual fact a complete u-turn, knocking Ian up into the air and onto a rubbish bin. The impact of the car on Ian’s leg caused him to suffer a tibia plateau fracture, which in simple terms meant that 3cm of the top of his tibia was broken off. The eye witness stated that when the driver got out of the car, her mobile phone fell from her lap onto the pavement, suggesting that the phone had been on her lap, opening up the possibility that she was using it at the time of driving. The attending police officer breathalysed her as a matter of course, which was negative, but despite being told about the mobile phone this line of enquiry was not checked out. This is just one example, we could quote so many more.
Direct Line Assurance has commissioned a study into mobile phone usage and the results show that 40% of drivers use their mobile phones whilst driving. This equates to 10 million drivers, a worrying statistic. The Department for National Statistics states that 38% of fatalities are caused by mobile phones. The police should have a direct line to phone companies to enable the subscriber’s records to be checked at the time of the accident.
Reply from:- Direct Communications Unit Home Office
Enforcement of road traffic legislation and the investigation of road traffic incidents are operation matters for individual chief officers of police. It is for the officer dealing with an incident to decide whether the use of a mobile phone might have been a factor and if so what investigation of the possibility it might be appropriate to carry out. Driving whilst using a mobile phone became a specific offence on 1 Dec 2003. It can be dealt with by prosecution or by the offer of a fixed penalty. The fixed penalty stands at £100 and an endorsement of three licence points. Around 93,000 fixed penalties were issued in the last year for which figures are available. If the case goes to court then a conviction can result in a fine of up to £1000 and three points. A person may also be prosecuted for offences of which using a mobile phone formed part, such as careless driving, and for which the penalty may be higher.