The Crime Prosecution Service has issued new guidance (more from CNN here) that it might be possible to push for a charge of dangerous driving against people caught using a mobile phone while behind the wheel in the UK. Having been close to accidents a couple of times when car drivers on their phones have been oblivious to me on my bicycle I’m completely in favour of the strongest possible disincentives to using a mobile while driving.
But is the threat of prison really the right answer? In the first instance even more severe penalties should be applied to mean a person loses their license. Secondly a better way to fine drivers should be introduced – a fine that is proportional to a person’s income. This is the system in place in Finland where a Nokia executive received a record fine. It would be a progressive and effective sentencing policy, and would raise a lot of cash for the government. Lastly some community sentences could be tried, with the emphasis on road safety. Surely with prison numbers at a record high the last thing we need is more people in jail for driving offences – there must be better ways to achieve the same results.