Drivers in the UK could be asked to hand over their mobile phones by police in the event of a car accident, no matter how minor, and whether any injuries are sustained. The change in directive is designed to cut down on the amount of fatal or serious accidents caused by drivers using their phones, which stands at around 500 per year in the country.
Police officers will check phones to look for evidence a call was in progress at the time of the accident, or if a message or social networking update was being sent. If any evidence is discovered, the device could be seized and used in any future prosecution. This is a small but important change to the existing law, which currently allows officers to check mobile devices only in serious accidents.
Issued by the chief constable responsible for policing Britain’s roads, it’s hoped the stricter rules will make drivers think again before picking up their phones, thereby reducing the number of accidents. If the thought of losing your phone isn’t reason enough, the penalty for being caught may also be increased to six driving license penalty points, and with a ban coming with twelve points, this could be very costly. There are some concerns over the new rule, despite its positive intentions. A spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers is quoted as being behind the new system, but concerned about police officers “over doing it,” in the event of a minor, non-harmful traffic accident.
In America, a National Safety Council report estimated that more than 25 percent of car accidents involved the misuse of a mobile phone, a figure which has been increasing since 2010. While penalties remain the same at the moment, some people have come up with ingenious, and embarrassing methods to help stop others texting while driving.