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12/17/2006
UK: Jail Time Proposed for Cell Phone Users
Using a cell phone behind the wheel could carry massive fines and up to two years in jail.

Ken Macdonald
The head of the UK Crown Prosecution Service, Ken Macdonald, is floating the idea of throwing motorists who use cell phones in jail. The idea would be to apply the charge of "dangerous driving" to anyone talking on the phone behind the wheel because it carries large fines and up to two years in jail. The current penalty is just £30 (US $58) or up to £1000 (US $1950) if the motorist attempts to defend himself in court.

"Talking on your mobile phone and applying make-up while driving are just a couple of examples of bad driving currently regarded as careless driving, for which culprits cannot be jailed," Kate Brown, the top prosecutor in Dorset told the Dorset Echo newspaper. "We are seeking the public's views as to whether these types of bad driving should be considered as dangerous driving, which would mean that offenders could face two years in jail or 14 years to life if their bad driving resulted in a fatality."

A recent public opinion survey revealed about a third of drivers in South West England ignored the existing ban on the use of cell phones behind the wheel. The same opinion survey showed three-quarters of the public does not want any more speed cameras.

Source: Drivers Who Flout Law To Face Jail Sentences (Dorset Echo (UK), 12/15/2006)

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