U.K. sees mobile phone usage while driving soar, officials doubling down on penalties

uk drive safe mode phones young adults texting on their smartphones and driving
antoniodiaz / 123RF Stock Photo
Transportation officials in the U.K. are done with people texting or using phones while driving. The problem is only getting worse and officials are planning to double the penalties starting in early 2017, according to the International Business Times.

“Your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement. “We all have a part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving. I will be announcing a tougher new penalty regime shortly.”

In a study by the Royal Automotive Club (RAC) earlier in 2016, 31 percent of those polled said they had used a mobile phone while driving, up from eight percent in a similar poll in 2014. Enforcement numbers do not reflect the increase, dropping from 123,000 motorists fined for using the phone in January 2011 while driving to just 30,000 in the same month in 2016.

The RAC said a combination of fewer law enforcement officers on the roads and more widespread use of smartphones was leading to a problem of “epidemic proportions.”

“Sadly, motorists’ attitudes to using handheld mobile phones while driving appear to be relaxing rather than tightening,” RAC spokesman Peter Williams said. “This is due to the combination of our constantly growing addiction to ever more sophisticated smartphones, coupled with there being little or no fear of being caught in the act as a result of declining numbers of roads policing officers.”

The new penalties will be costly and could result in lost licenses. Drivers caught texting or using their phones while driving will get six points on their license and be fined 200 pounds ($260). For new drivers, who cannot have more than six points on their licenses for the first two years, the penalty will mean immediate license forfeiture. They will also be required to retake their licensing test. Drivers who have had their licenses for more than two years could be fined up to 1,000 pounds ($1,300) for a second offense and lose their license for at least six months.

Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.
Cars

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.
Cars

USPS taps self-driving big rigs to move mail between cities

The United States Postal Service is teaming up with autonomous-truck company TuSimple for a trial using its self-driving big rigs to transport mail between depots in Arizona and Texas.
Mobile

New York could dish out fines for texting while crossing the street

Do you text on your phone while crossing the street? The dangers of stepping out in front of a car or bus are obvious, but in New York, offenders could soon face a fine of as much as $250, too.
Deals

Amazon Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch, Surface Pro, and 4K TV Deals

Amazon is discounting a number of different items. Smartwatches, tablets, 4K TVs, smart home devices, and laptops are all getting discounts to stay competitive with prices from Walmart and Best Buy.
Mobile

The 20 best iPhone SE cases to keep your phone looking like new

Protect your iPhone properly with one of the best iPhone SE cases or covers. That metal-and-glass body is prone to scuffs and scratches, so it pays to buy a decent case. We've got protective and stylish options for you here.
Product Review

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 Music is all a runner needs to measure performance

Garmin's new Forerunner 245 fitness watch offers advanced metrics, onboard color maps and music. Is this trio a winning combination? We put the watch through its paces to find out.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for May 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals for…
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else entirely.
Gaming

These are the 20 best Android games you can play offline

Even in our increasingly connected world, you don't always have an internet connection on the go. To help you pass the time when you're disconnected, we compiled a list of the best Android games that can be played offline.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Product Review

Oppo’s cutting-edge Reno has a shark fin pop-up camera, and plenty of bite

The Oppo Reno has a very cool shark fin-style pop-up camera to make it stand out in a crowd, and a rear camera with a 10x zoom, plus there’s a 5G version coming soon. It’s truly up-to-date, with plenty of cutting-edge tech inside.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.