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UK Texting and Driving Rates Soar, Causes Increase in Penalties

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UK’s texting and driving rates are rising, so the penalties for this offense are rising, too

Texting and driving is never a good idea. In the United States, it has become something of an epidemic—but the US isn’t the only country that has seen a drastic increase in distracted driving. A recent report by the Royal Automotive Club (RAC) in the United Kingdom has found that 31% of drivers surveyed have used a cell phone while driving, which is an 8% increase from a similar poll in 2014.

As the number of drivers texting and driving in the UK increases, officials are looking to increase the number of penalties these offenders could receive.

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“Your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in a recent 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.”

According to the International Business Times, UK government officials plan to double the penalties people texting or using phones while driving might receive in early 2017. These penalties will be extremely costly and could result in lost driver’s licenses.

Drivers who are caught texting or driving will receive six points on their license and be fined £200—the equivalent of about $260. Because new drivers can’t have more than six points on their licenses for their first two years, this means that their license could be forfeited and they would be required to retake their licensing test.

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“Sadly, motorists’ attitudes to using handheld mobile phones while driving appear to be relaxing rather than tightening,” said RAC spokesman Peter Williams. “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.”

Hopefully, with the increase of penalties, the number of drivers using their phone while behind the wheel will decrease over the next few years, rather than increase.

News Source: International Business Times