British Cycling is backing road safety campaigner Allan Ramsey's No.10 petition calling for tougher penalties for motorists who use mobile phones at the wheel.
The cycling organisation has been contacted by Roadpeace campaigner Allan Ramsey to support his petition calling for mobile phone using motorists to have their phones and cars confiscated and to be given an automatic driving ban for breaking the law on mobile phone use while driving.
British Cycling's website says: "Allan has never pulled any punches in his campaigning - he's been an advocate of the road safety charity Roadpeace for many years - and as a victim of a careless driver himself, he has every reason to be passionate about the subject."
Ramsey says: "Don't just think of yourself, think of your family, think of all your pals, think of all who have fallen victim to a "mobile menace"; think of improving cycling health and safety throughout the UK; think of all the cyclist hating car drivers who don't want cyclists on 'their' roads, the people who believe speed is good, speed is right, cyclists have no right being on the road. The list of vitims - cyclists and other road users - is as long as your arm and growing by the day. So please take a few minutes to sign the petition and make difference!"
The dangers of mobile phone use while driving are highlighted in the Department for Transport's high-profile Road Safety campaign Think! which includes a shocking advert showing a husband talking to his wife on a mobile phone and crashing his car while still on the line to her.
DfT figures research shows;
- reaction times for drivers using a handheld phone are 30 per cent worse than for driving under the influence of alcohol at the legal limit
- using a mobile phone while driving means you are four times more likely to crash
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device while driving but Ramsey wants the current penalty - a £60 fine and three penalty points, increased. Currently, if the case goes to court, the driver gets a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if driving a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle), discretionary disqualification and three points.
Ramsey, however, is calling for drivers caught using their mobile phones to have the phone and their vehicle confiscated and an automatic driving ban put in place.
Ramsey's petition has so far collected more than 500 names and will be open until 23 March 2010.