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Editor's comment: Michael Adkins agrees with increased punishment for using mobiles at the wheel

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 March 2017

Archant

Switch off your phone to enjoy the drive home

Mobile phones and our constant need to be with them every waking second is literally killing people.

That’s why I completely agree with the increase in punishment for motorists caught using a phone while in control of their motor vehicle.

Doubling the fine and points punishment is a great first step and long overdue. The police action targeting offenders in the immediate days after the tougher punishment came into force is welcome.

But what happens when all the hype - and the endless radio appeals I keep hearing - fade away? When the over-stretched and under-funded police have to turn their attention to other priorities.

Let’s be brutally honest. The only way we can drive down deaths and serious accidents caused by mobile phone users at the wheel is to put it in the nation’s psyche and make it socially unacceptable.

I believe the increased punishment is a good starting point but in years to come we probably need to go further. Either technology needs to play it’s part and block phones while engines are running (I expect this is a long way off given the amount of old vehicles on the road) or tougher penalties like an automatic ban should be high on the agenda.

We all live busier lives, whether it’s the expectations of our jobs to be on 24 hour call or an equally busy home life.

But think how you would feel if a loved one of yours lost their life because someone answered a text while driving. Aside from the traffic frustrations I quite enjoy driving these days because I get a much needed break from my phone.

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