Britain to double mobile phone fines

Britain's new government is following up tough talk on electronic distracted driving with a doubling of penalties for handheld mobile phone use. The new punishments, still being finalized, will be be at least £200 and 6 points vs. the driver's license, officials says. They will take effect in the first half of next year, the Department for Transport said. The moves are spearheaded by new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, left, who was appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May. Distracted drivers "could kill and cause untold misery to others," Grayling said in a statement Sept. 17. "I … [Read more...]

U.K. mobile seizure stories bogus

U.K. drivers were startled by local reports that police would be inspecting mobile phones of all those involved in crashes, seeking evidence of distracted driving. Despite the Big Brother creepiness, the story wasn't entirely outlandish, given that the transportation secretary recently called the toll from texting and handheld mobile use "absolutely appalling" -- and vowed to look into doubling the demerit points vs. violators. Yet, despite the reports in several daily newspapers, including the Daily Mail, it wasn't true. Suzette Davenport, who heads the Association of Chief Police … [Read more...]

Irish texting & driving tab: $1,400

Those who text and drive in Ireland are out of luck. They're now facing some of the planet's toughest distracted driving penalties, with fines for first offenses topping out at 1,000 Euros -- about $1,400. The penalties, which took effect May 1, increase to a maximum €2,000 for a second offense. Three-time offenders are looking at €3,000 and a possible three months in jail (offenses within a year). Offenders will have to show up in court, instead of taking roadside penalty points. The changes also apply to those "accessing information" (Web sites) via smartphones. The new fines do not … [Read more...]

‘Name and shame’ cell phone violators

Steady, cell phone chatterers. The Essex Chronicle in England has decided to "name and shame" drivers who are violating traffic laws by using mobile phones behind the wheel. A reporter accompanied local police as they cited drivers for chatting and texting while motoring. The newspaper then printed the perps' names and photos. The unusual tactic sometimes is used by the media to humiliate prostitutes' johns, but the cell phone suspects didn't seem all that repentant. "I don't like people telling me how to live my life," said second-time offender Gemma Dean. When asked if she felt like she … [Read more...]

European cell phone, texting roundup

French drivers are not permitted to pull over to the roadside and use their mobile phones, according to a high court ruling. Drivers must be in designated parking spots to avoid the possible €135 fine for mobile phone use while driving. The exception is if a motorist has broken down. The government, meanwhile, wants to suspend the driver's licenses of those who use mobiles while creating a danger to others. The country is trying to deal with a soaring accident rate, and recently reduced speed limits. A British woman who prosecutors said killed a motorcyclist while distracted by a hands-free … [Read more...]