Driven To Distraction
There could a correlation between an increase the number of cars being driven over the last twenty years, which is 50 per cent, to the number of road signs now present in Britain, which at four and a half million, is up one hundred per cent on twenty years ago.
Or not, but there could be a correlation between the huge number of road signs and the number of car accidents attributable to driver distraction over the last year or so.
The rise in signage timescale has also covered the period of greatly increased in-car technology, with touchscreen controls on dashboards that wouldn’t look out of place in a space shuttle, which are designed as driver aids, but can be highly distracting.
There is of course, another more sinister element at work in the distracted driver problem, and that has increased with the uptake of the smart phone.
The use of a mobile phone whilst at the wheel has long been an offence, the distraction of a telephone conversation, affecting driver’s reaction times by one or two seconds, time that could potentially carry serious repercussions.
A recent study on driver distraction showed that in the course of a phone conversation we try to visualise whatever is being discussed, and that process employs the same part of the brain that should be surveying the road.
The use of texting while driving has always been recognised as a pretty dangerous pastime, requiring concentration and application, while leaving the car to pretty much drive itself.
The smart phone brings in whole new dimensions, with access to emails and social media, with all the attention seeking that it brings with it.
In the light of some recent high profile and tragic accidents involving mobile and smart phones, proposals have set in place to alter the penalties for usage, to make a deterrent almost as potent as those over drink-driving…. with many drivers being falsely accused of using their phones for making calls or reading texts while driving when they weren’t, the volume of court cases has risen dramatically.
If you are one of those drivers who has been accused of driving while holding a phone then call Emma Patterson at Patterson Law and ask a free advice question about the particulars of your allegations> Emma will give you the information that you need to make the right decision and minimise the punishment that you receive.
The guidance under the current law for the offence is three penalty points on the license, and a fine of £100. The proposal is to double it with a minimum fine of £200 and six penalty points, which means two similar offences within three years of each other would bring a court appearance, and unless legal representation prevent it, automatic disqualification.
For those drivers who have only had their license for two years or less, the six points mean that one mobile phone/driving offence will lead to a complete loss of license, and having to retake and pass both parts of the driving test again.
The drivers distraction deterrent.