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Friday, 1 August 2014

6 years for phone use.


 See story here  I hold no mandate for using phones and driving. Phones and driving simply don't mix.

Would you take a phone call on your driving test? No. Your test is a contract with the public as part of your licence. As most things, including conversation, are not conducive to best driving, they are all, to different degrees, distractions from the one and only objective, to get there safely. So even conversation, other than that conducive to the drive, is taboo too.

Let's get it clear. This woman wasn't jailed for killing whilst making phone calls but for causing a death by dangerous driving. The phone history was an aggravation of that and also a corroboration to it. It also didn't help that she was speeding by 10 MPH or that she had two previous convictions for phone use while driving.

Even in a rush to get to a hospital where your child is dying, the drive ought to be your primary concern. The problem is that driving is so much a daily and regular chore, we become too blasé about it; we shouldn't.

This case is a very good example of why we shouldn't engage with any phone conversations while driving. They are too demanding of your attention and decision processes.

How on earth did we manage before mobile phones?  If these calls are so important, why not just pull over to take them, or ring back? I cannot envisage any incoming phone call that cannot wait for a few minutes anyway.

But we must be very careful. Far too frequently now because someone is injured or dies, an offence is being assumed. Death and injury do not imply driver blame on their own. Like drink drive offences, the question must always be: 'Did the drink cause the accident?' same with phone use. If we automatically associate a phone call or a failed breath test as the cause of an accident, we risk not only convicting the wrong person but also missing the actual cause of the accident.

It seems to me that finding calls on a phone immediately prior to an accident is not evidence in itself of blame or if they caused the accident. The police should only use such evidence or corroboration after the case for death by dangerous or careless driving is already made out in its own right.


  1. What do you think about people who have the radio playing loudly when they are driving?

  2. Radios playing no problem. Fiddling with them is. But has this added to sensible debate? Not at all. However cycling with headphones is certainly inadvisable.

    1. Would you ban deaf people cycling? If so, why?