‘Send motorists using phones on a COURSE instead of fining them’, police officials say

The new rules, set to come into effect in March, will double the penalty fee and license points for drivers texting or making calls behind the wheel – leaving rule-breakers with a hefty £200 fine and six points on their license.
The move comes amid public anger at the increasing number of people killed or seriously injured by motorists distracted by using their phones or other electronic devices.

But police chiefs have told Government ministers they want to reserve the right to spare some motorists the most punitive measures and instead offer them courses in road safety.
Darrell Martin, who lost his brother Lee after he was hit by a texting van driver, told the Mail on Sunday: “I think they should get six points – that’s a clear signal not to use your phone in the car. It’s a massive distraction.”
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, national lead for roads policing, said at a conference last week that police responses to driving offences should be “proportionate”.

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Police are set to defy the Government over proposed punishments for phone-driving offenders.

She said: “I had a letter from the Secretary of State whose strong view is we should not offer courses that people using a mobile phone should go on.
“I wrote back and said I do have some sympathy but you have to be proportionate.”
She added: “For example, if you are stationary in a traffic jam and aren’t moving anywhere, I don’t think it is appropriate to be given six points.”

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Police officials have called for a "proportionate response"to the problem.

But Roger Lawson, campaign director for the Association of British Drivers, said he was “astonished the police are ignoring the Government on this”.
He added: ”They seem to think they are a law unto themselves. They claim they only cover their administration costs, but they are making money out of these courses.”
The Department for Transport last year announced it would double the penalty for phone-driving offences over the issue.

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Under the rules proposed by police, drivers would be able to avoid hefty fines and license points by paying up to £100 to take a road safety course.
The courses are part of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme.

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