Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William, was stopped for using a mobile whilst driving in last October:-
From the Telegraph:
“Miss Middleton was pictured holding her handset to her ear as she drove her Audi A3 along a country lane near her family’s Berkshire home.
Motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving could be jailed for two years under guidelines issued by prosecutors in April.
Drivers who adjust sat-navs, tinker with MP3 music players such as iPods or send text messages can also face prison sentences.
Using a hand-held mobile while driving was outlawed in 2003, but tougher measures were brought in after it was estimated more than half a million motorists flout the ban each day”
Yet, according to the Daily Mail today, ‘Kate Middleton will not be prosecuted for using her mobile phone while driving. The offence automatically carries a £60 fine and three penalty points. Thames Valley force said yesterday it had taken no action.
and from a legal website:-
Are there any exemptions?
If you are in a genuine emergency situation and it would be unsafe for you to stop, there is an exemption in place that allows motorists to call the emergency services on 999 or 112 while driving.
The article didn’t say why she wasn’t prosecuted despite several witnesses. Is there a loophole?
Even more puzzling as, previously, the Thames Valley Police had a massive crackdown on such lawless motorists:-
From a local Newbury newssite:-
“More than 1680 drivers fined by Thames Valley Police since January
POLICE figures released this week show that drivers have been ignoring the ban on using hand-held mobile phones
Around 1682 motorists have been stopped and fined by Thames Valley Police for using handsets since January 1.
Using a hand-held phone was made illegal in December 2003.
Malcolm Collis, Manager of Specialist Units within Thames Valley Roads Policing department, said: “We have been enforcing this law for nearly three years now and there are still people who flout the law. These people need to understand that using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, dangerous and we will continue to be tough with people who put their lives and the lives of other road-users in jeopardy by taking calls while on the move.”
The Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership are proud of their road safety campaign. In their website (www.saferroads.org) they state on mobile phone use while driving:-
“Research suggests that if you are using a mobile phone while driving you are four times more likely to have a crash.
Other research has shown that driver’s reaction times are up to 50% slower than normal when driving and using a mobile phone and that your reaction times are 30% worse than when driving under the influence of alcohol.
It is dangerous because a telephone conversation (or texting) distracts from the mental concentration needed to drive safely. You put yourself and other road users in danger.
And mobile phones are a danger not only for drivers, but as this advert demonstrates for pedestrians as well”.
I wonder how many people are being let off by the Thames Valley Police despite using their mobile phones while driving. It is a cause for concern.
To make a complaint against the Thame Valley Police, contact:-
Thames Valley Police Authority
Oxon OX5 2NX
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Jim Booth – Executive Director
Telephone: 01865 846780
Furthermore, employers will have to take responsibiliity if their employees drive whilst using a mobile phone, here is an excerpt from Hewetts, solicitors:
“Employers to be Liable for Employees Who Drive While Using Mobile Phones
An Article by N B Barnett, Employment Lawyer
The new provisions will also affect employers. By virtue of the newly inserted Reg 110(2) of the 1986 Regulations, ‘anyone who causes or permits any other person’ to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving will be liable to the fines mentioned above. Although the Department of Transport considers that employers would not be liable simply because they have supplied a telephone or phone an employee who is driving, they are likely to be liable if they require their employees to use a hand-held phone while driving. They may also be liable, in the Department’s view, if they fail to forbid employees to use such phones while driving on company business”
Don’t forget you can report bad drivers on http://www.betterdrivingplease.com. I have seen an article which showed that over 1000 lawless motorists were seen by members of the public using a handheld phone while driving and they quoted that site.
Here is an excerpt from betterdrivingplease:-
“Why has the British Public fallen out of love with the Police?
The public is alienated. They no longer respect the police. Yet the vast majority of the Police are hard-working individuals wanting to make a difference and help society.
What has gone wrong? – the ‘bad get away with it’ – ‘the good do not’:
Road-Traffic Police have been reduced at the very moment when there are now one and a half million uninsured drivers (so many of them that insurance companies now use them in their advertising). Adding insult to injury, encouraged by the DVLA, hundreds of thousands of motorists have illegally altered their number plates – some so much – that a speed camera will not pick them up – and certainly a witness may fail to identify such a vehicle in a ‘hit and run’. (And the Government deludes itself that ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition – may answer traffic management in the future).
If ever there were a clearer signal that the Police have lost control of our roads – this is it, closely followed by hand-held mobile phone drivers – worse than a drink-driver in terms of loss of concentration – yet ‘civil disobedience’ is so high that millions will drive whilst using their mobile phone.
What can the Police/Authorities do?
Start listening to a seriously alienated public who are increasingly less inclined to help the Police ….. and start responding by putting more traffic-police back on the roads ….. employ ‘joined up’ thinking ….. according to RoSPA road accidents are estimated to cost Britain £16,000,000,000-00 – that’s sixteen thousand million pounds per annum. One fatal accident prevented saves £1 million, 420 thousand pounds”