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Road safety charities welcome move to stop drivers using phones on the road

The mobile phones of all drivers involved in crashes will be seized and examined under new police guidelines aimed at discouraging drivers from texting and calling at the wheel.

It is already illegal to use a mobile phone at the wheel but the law is widely flouted.

Police will now check whether drivers were using their phone prior to the crash as a matter of course, and will be able to use the mobile records as evidence in court.

Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is responsible for roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers, brought in the guidelines.

Previously they were used only in accidents where people were killed or seriously injured.

Earlier this month we reported how the government is considering doubling the number of penalty points motorists receive when they are caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel, following a recommendation from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Under the proposal put forward by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, drivers committing the offence would receive six penalty points, meaning that anyone caught on two occasions in a three-year period would lose their licence, reports The Guardian.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said he was taking the suggestion seriously since the "amounts of casualties there have been are absolutely appalling".

He continued: "The person using their phone doesn't realise the damage or the danger they can be in. It ends up ruining different people's lives – those who are driving as well as those who are injured.

"It is one that I want to look at. There could be some difficulties about it but I think we've got to get that message across to people about safety.

"We have been very lucky in this country in seeing, year on year, the number of road deaths and casualties actually falling. But one death is one too many and we need to look at those and see where we are going."

In 2012, more than 10,000 drivers caught using their phone at the wheel opted to take a road safety course instead of the points.

But Professor Stephen Glaister from the RAC Foundation told the Daily Mail: “More systematic checking of drivers’ phone records after a crash would... send out a message that police are taking this matter seriously and people who flout the law will be caught.”

AA president Edmund King also welcomed the move, saying: “The current deterrent just isn’t working.

“Many drivers seem addicted to their phones and just can’t resist looking at a text or tweet at the wheel. We need a concerted effort to crack this addiction with harsher penalties linked to an information and enforcement campaign.”

Hugh Bladon, of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “I am 100 per cent against anyone texting while driving, and those caught deserve everything they get.

“But I’m worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn’t mean they should lose their phone.”

Ed Morrow, of road safety charity Brake, said:  “We are fully supportive of the efforts by the police to clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel

“Offenders need to know they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and there will be serious consequences.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

36 comments

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VeloPeo [303 posts] 2 years ago
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Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

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AWPeleton [3328 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes we need to take the phone becuase if nothing else it really p1sses people off not having their arm attachment with them all the time.

It's amazing what people admit to doing if you threaten to keep their phone.

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mrmo [2077 posts] 2 years ago
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When we say EVERY crash what does that actually mean?

A few weeks ago i was hit by a BMW coming out of a side turning who didn't look. I reported this to the police and because the driver stopped, the road wasn't closed, and no one was hospitalised, they didn't care.

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charlie bravo [50 posts] 2 years ago
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What suzette Davenport has really said -

""At no point have I issued guidance to officers to seize mobile phones from drivers at the site of every road traffic collision."

http://www.acpo.presscentre.com/Press-Releases/Reports-of-police-seizing...

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Yes we need to take the phone becuase if nothing else it really p1sses people off not having their arm attachment with them all the time.

It's amazing what people admit to doing if you threaten to keep their phone.

Maybe people would have a higher opinion of the Police if you concentrated on enforcing the law rather than pissing people off.

However you are ill equipped or unwilling to enforce this particular issue, the technology exists to make phone use at the wheel impossible and the only reason it isn't in production is because consumers/voters don't want it, most would rather carry on texting at the wheel.

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bikebot [1924 posts] 2 years ago
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I've never understood why this is considered a difficult law to enforce. Seriously, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. If there anyone on here who rides in commuter traffic who doesn't see multiple people doing this every single day.

Earlier this year I pointed out a driver using his phone to a Police officer, as I was crossing the road in front of him (on foot, no bike). He went over, tapped on the drivers window, had a word and then continued on his way. So clearly not something that is enforced as an offence as serious as drink driving with lethal consequences.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

I see both sides of this, but agree, why remove the Phone when Phone records would be used in any court case, as calls and texts can be deleted in a split second anyway. The Post below VeloPeo's shows why people's views on the Police can be so poor.
The Police need to run more operations to catch people on their phones in the first place. Proactive Policing is the answer to preventing accidents, but I realize too that due to a lack of Bobby's the chances of being caught in the first place are limited. The guy across the road from me has been running around in untaxed/un-MOT'd/uninsured cars for about 2 years now and he never gets caught so the chances of getting caught making a phone call must be about 1 in 1,000,000.

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Derny [113 posts] 2 years ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

Traffic from services like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Apple's iMessage, would not show up in telco logs of calls or texts. It would show up in encrypted network traffic but telcos do not log all such traffic. If you want to know if the driver was using the phone, you have to look at the phone.

Also, a person can be distracted by a phone without sending or receiving a message. For example they could be playing a game on the phone.

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jova54 [654 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:

The guy across the road from me has been running around in untaxed/un-MOT'd/uninsured cars for about 2 years now and he never gets caught so the chances of getting caught making a phone call must be about 1 in 1,000,000.

Here you go. Do the good citizen thing and bubble him to the DVLA.  4https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle

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gazza_d [461 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:

The guy across the road from me has been running around in untaxed/un-MOT'd/uninsured cars for about 2 years now and he never gets caught so the chances of getting caught making a phone call must be about 1 in 1,000,000.

So why have you not shopped him to the DVLA?

That is exactly the kind of reckless behavior that gets people on bikes hit and killed.
Police would be interested too, as a lot of "petty" driving illegality like driving with no tax/MOT often tends to lead to bigger things.

And yes I have shopped untaxed vehicles in our street & seen them towed away. It is anonymous

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Brooess [85 posts] 2 years ago
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100% behind confiscation. Do we want more people to die?
As mentioned above - as a cyclist you become very aware of the extent of the use of mobile phones when driving. A shocking one I saw today was a guy turning right into a residential road, head down, looking at something (may or may not have been a phone on his lap. No observation at all... does someone else deserve to die because of that?

Best reason for confiscation is it causes massive inconvenience + you have to explain to your family, friends, kids, boss, co-workers and clients if applicable that you're waiting to get your phone back.

That real social pressure will do way more than any threatened penalties. It's real, immediate and you have to explain to people why you have no phone. A potential jail sentence/losing licence is a conceptual idea that might at some point in the future - and clearly is inadequate as a disincentive...

At the end of the day there's no reason for using your phone when you're driving so you can't claim this is unfair.

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oldstrath [616 posts] 2 years ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

It's the giving it back part I don’t funderstand. Smashing them in front of their noses would be more appropriate.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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jova54 wrote:
Das wrote:

The guy across the road from me has been running around in untaxed/un-MOT'd/uninsured cars for about 2 years now and he never gets caught so the chances of getting caught making a phone call must be about 1 in 1,000,000.

Here you go. Do the good citizen thing and bubble him to the DVLA.  4https://www.gov.uk/report-untaxed-vehicle

Report him on a monthly basis, but it would appear that since they closed the local offices they no longer care. He now has 3 untaxed vehicles sitting on the road.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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gazza_d wrote:
Das wrote:

The guy across the road from me has been running around in untaxed/un-MOT'd/uninsured cars for about 2 years now and he never gets caught so the chances of getting caught making a phone call must be about 1 in 1,000,000.

So why have you not shopped him to the DVLA?

That is exactly the kind of reckless behavior that gets people on bikes hit and killed.
Police would be interested too, as a lot of "petty" driving illegality like driving with no tax/MOT often tends to lead to bigger things.

And yes I have shopped untaxed vehicles in our street & seen them towed away. It is anonymous

Do it on a monthly basis, but nothing happens. I think since the dvla closed the local offices they no longer care and are leaving it up to the police to catch non taxed vehicles.

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RedfishUK [131 posts] 2 years ago
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VeloPeo wrote:

Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

Does it mean seize as in have the right to look at the phone -- and the driver is not allowed to refuse -- then keep it if the evidence points to it being used.
Rather than taking all phones for x days and checking them back in the lab?

The first seems sensible - the second would be a bit of a admin nightmare for the police

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goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
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1) What about hands-free kits? I mean proper ones that hook up to the car speaker system. Those are allowed and, while still distracting the driver, massively reduce the risk. I would argue that they distract to the same degree as someone in the seat next to them speaking to them. How do they enforce that? If they took mine away in that scenario I would sue the police for loss of earnings. I assume others will do so as well

2) Is it only the people that hit someone, or people that get hit?

I suspect this law will never come into being.

 39

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Pub bike [156 posts] 2 years ago
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This will only work if they are smart enough to ask for the code to unlock the screen at the same time  1

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mrmo [2077 posts] 2 years ago
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goggy wrote:

1) What about hands-free kits? I mean proper ones that hook up to the car speaker system. Those are allowed and, while still distracting the driver, massively reduce the risk. I would argue that they distract to the same degree as someone in the seat next to them speaking to them. How do they enforce that? If they took mine away in that scenario I would sue the police for loss of earnings. I assume others will do so as well

2) Is it only the people that hit someone, or people that get hit?

I suspect this law will never come into being.

 39

If you are using a mobile and are in a crash regardless of handsfree it is quite reasonable to ask whether you were driving with due care and attention. HSE guidance for company drivers is actually quite clear, no mobiles at all whilst driving.

this is the rospa guidance that is based on HSE http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/workmobiles.pdf

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VeloPeo [303 posts] 2 years ago
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Derny wrote:
VeloPeo wrote:

Good news - but do they need to physically take the phones? Surely the driver's TelCo could provide logs of calls and texts in and around the crash time just as easily.

Traffic from services like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Apple's iMessage, would not show up in telco logs of calls or texts. It would show up in encrypted network traffic but telcos do not log all such traffic. If you want to know if the driver was using the phone, you have to look at the phone.

Also, a person can be distracted by a phone without sending or receiving a message. For example they could be playing a game on the phone.

You're wrong there - telcos will log every time the data connection from a phones is used, what site it was from and how much data was consumed. How else do you think they bill for data usage.

You're right to say that you they wouldn't be able to tell whether non data consuming applications had been used but then again, neither would plod.

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horizontal dropout [270 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi Sarah Barth, could you comment on charlie bravo's comment above quoting the ACPO press release. Did you get the story from an ACPO press release? Do you have a link to it?

It seems to have become an internet story but perhaps without foundation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2706182/Police-seize-mobiles-EVE...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10992473/Drive...

thanks, no criticism intended, just looking for the truth.

I'm opposed to the growth of surveillance society but I think I approve of this one so it would be nice if it were true.

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AWPeleton [3328 posts] 2 years ago
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If you use an unregistered PAYG phone the supplier does not keep details of calls / texts you made. More commonly known on tv as burners.

We use a certain code that when punched into the screen unlocks the phone and gives you the imei number so that you can check with the supplier.

Also DAS if i was to stop you whilst driving using your phone and i let you go without taking your phone you carry on using it, whereas if i take your phone it does p1ss you off, but then thats your fault for being a prick and using it whilst driving, so to be honest you can dislike my comment or the police as much as you want but it wont stop me from doing what i do.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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stumps wrote:

If you use an unregistered PAYG phone the supplier does not keep details of calls / texts you made. More commonly known on tv as burners.

We use a certain code that when punched into the screen unlocks the phone and gives you the imei number so that you can check with the supplier.

Also DAS if i was to stop you whilst driving using your phone and i let you go without taking your phone you carry on using it, whereas if i take your phone it does p1ss you off, but then thats your fault for being a prick and using it whilst driving, so to be honest you can dislike my comment or the police as much as you want but it wont stop me from doing what i do.

You wouldnt piss me off, or indeed even catch me, as I use a hands free kit whilst driving, but thanks for showing your true colors. Its Pricks like you that give the rest of the Police a bad name.

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Beatnik69 [320 posts] 2 years ago
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stumps wrote:

We use a certain code that when punched into the screen unlocks the phone and gives you the imei number so that you can check with the supplier.

There was a case in America a year or so ago where the FBI had seized a phone belonging to a drug dealer. He had it locked using a swipe pattern code and they were unable to crack it. Would your code work on something like that?

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antonio [1124 posts] 2 years ago
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'HOORAY' !!

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gb901 [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:
stumps wrote:

If you use an unregistered PAYG phone the supplier does not keep details of calls / texts you made. More commonly known on tv as burners.

We use a certain code that when punched into the screen unlocks the phone and gives you the imei number so that you can check with the supplier.

Also DAS if i was to stop you whilst driving using your phone and i let you go without taking your phone you carry on using it, whereas if i take your phone it does p1ss you off, but then thats your fault for being a prick and using it whilst driving, so to be honest you can dislike my comment or the police as much as you want but it wont stop me from doing what i do.

You wouldnt piss me off, or indeed even catch me, as I use a hands free kit whilst driving, but thanks for showing your true colors. Its Pricks like you that give the rest of the Police a bad name.

Couldn't agree more!

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truffy [653 posts] 2 years ago
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goggy wrote:

1) What about hands-free kits? I mean proper ones that hook up to the car speaker system. Those are allowed and, while still distracting the driver, massively reduce the risk. I would argue that they distract to the same degree as someone in the seat next to them speaking to them.

The difference is that a person in the seat next to you can see what's ahead (unless they're blind) and (hopefully) know not to distract you.

Using a hands-free was still calculated to driving after a pint of beer (or something similar). At least one company that I used to work for made driving even using hands-free a disciplinary/sackable offence.

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truffy [653 posts] 2 years ago
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I uses that the real problem is that it's closing the stable after the horse has bolted. If the government or police were really interested, they'd put more effort into actually deterring drivers from using mobile phones while driving rather than waiting until something actually happens (and someone else suffers).

But they're lazy/stupid/underfunded, and this approach is easier, rather like dumbarsed speeding restrictions on motorways with clear view, it's an easy way of generating revenue.

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kraut [108 posts] 2 years ago
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Derny wrote:

Traffic from services like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, or Apple's iMessage, would not show up in telco logs of calls or texts. It would show up in encrypted network traffic but telcos do not log all such traffic.

Your not keeping up with just how much the government spies on us. Check out #DRIP and its predecessor #RIPA.

But yes, you can do offline things on your phone to distract you just as much.

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kraut [108 posts] 2 years ago
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You really should try following the non-cycling news sometimes. The name Snowden might ring a bell.

They have all that "metadata" already. They just never used it for anything useful, because their acquisition of the data was illegal.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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stumps wrote:

We use a certain code that when punched into the screen unlocks the phone and gives you the imei number so that you can check with the supplier.

* # 0 6 #

............................................................................................. its not a secret........ Your obviously a top cop.........................Not.....

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