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Following new penalties for using a mobile phone while driving, the Local Government Association (LGA) is now calling for the legal drink drive limit to be lowered from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, to improve road safety.
Every year between 220-240 people are killed due to drink driving and drink-drive incidents increased by 11% between 2014 and 2015 and are continuing to rise.
It’s estimated that 170 lives could be saved in the first year of introducing this new limit, and these figures could rise to more than 300 a year, after six years. Lowering the limit could also save 300 million pounds a year, by reducing the number of 999 responses and hospital admissions.
Scotland has already reduced its legal limit to 50mg and the LGA is calling for the government to introduce the same measures in England and Wales to improve road safety.
From the 1st March 2017 you could face a £200 fine, plus a whopping 6 points on your licence for using a mobile phone while driving. However, research has shown that a staggering 39% of UK drivers are unaware of these drastic new driving laws.
New legislation states that any caught driver using their phone to make a call, text, take a picture, use the the internet, change music, use loudspeaker (while holding it) or take a video will be punished. The law applies to drivers who are sat in stationary traffic.
Likewise, drivers who fiddle with phone sat navs while driving will also face punishment, as new laws state routes must be programmed before setting off on your journey.
The only exception is if drivers need to make an emergency 999 or 112 call.
The new penalties have been introduced in a bid to crack down on accidents and to improve road safety. Last year, there were 400 accidents in the UK, 22 of which were fatal, because drivers were distracted by their phones.
Previously the penalty was a £100 fine and 3 points on a licence. The Department of Transport and the police hope that these changes in England, Scotland and Wales will have a significant impact and will cause less accidents.
Motorists who have had their licences for less than two years will be banned if they use their device just once, as authorities are keen to crack down on offenders and protect public safety.
There has been a sharp decline in the number of drivers caught using their phone at the wheel, from 123,100 people in 2013 to just 16,900 in 2015. These statistics are believed to be down to police budget cuts, following a 27% fall in the number of full-time staff policing roads.
Inspector Matt Butler, of the Dorset Police Traffic Department, said: “It has been illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving or riding a motorcycle since December 2003.”
“However, many motorists still fail to see that it is not possible to use a phone and be in proper control of a vehicle.”
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‘Whatever the reason for using a mobile device when driving – texting, scanning a news feed or streaming video content – it can wait until your journey is over. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of road users around you.”
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