Thursday, December 20, 2007

Go to Jail, do not pass Go

The latest, apparently draconian rule to come from the UK Government is to send drivers using mobile (cell) phones to jail.

On the face of it this seems a little excessive but there are valid reasons for the law when one considers that being in total control of a moving vehicle is very important. Watching the actions of drivers who are using mobiles clearly suggests that they are not 100% focused on driving. But the law is to include other "fiddling" activities such as using an iPod.

The reasons I wonder if this is just a little draconian are two fold:

1. Do we have enough jail space if it is estimated that 500,000 people a day flout the already existing (2003) law against using mobile phones?

2. Is using a mobile phone all that different from smoking a cigarette? Perhaps smoking becomes a habitual action that doesn't distract. Should a driver even be allowed to adjust the volume of the radio? Should a driver's hand be allowed to stray away from the steering wheel to, say, change gear? Should conversation be allowed inside a vehicle or should drivers be cocooned in a separate "cab"? Just where should the line be drawn?

Threatening jail seems to be an over-reaction, unless, of course, it can be proved that using a mobile phone may have caused an accident.

And as an aside, since we own a left hand drive car, does this mean that we will be charged for the front passenger being photographed using a mobile?