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‘Use it and lose it’ policy advocated for drivers and mobiles

Confiscating mobile phones off drivers using them illegally at the wheel could help cut down on their use and improve road safety.

Driver using mobile phone

The seizure of mobile phones or sim cards could help to reduce illegal use.

So said a leading member of the Police Federation of England and Wales, with the RAC Foundation adding that the measure might prove more effective than fines.

Speaking at a conference, Police Constable Jayne Willetts, the Federation’s lead on roads policing, said: “The legislation is still lacking for these offences, and does not take into account the use of phone watches. As technology is rapidly progressing, I fear our legislation is already behind the times.

“Is the seizure of mobile phones or their sim cards – along with an education system – the way forward, combined with fines? I don’t know, but it’s a question worth asking.”

A total of 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads in 2015, where a motorist using a mobile was a contributory factor.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “For people whose smartphone has become essential to their lifestyle the risk of confiscation could be a bigger deal than a fine or points on their driving licence.

“It would be a massive step to give police the power to mete out summary justice in this way.

“But with far too many people still flouting the law maybe it will take something as blunt and brutal as ‘you use it, you lose it’ to get the message across.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.