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  1. #1
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Motorists risk jail for using phones in car

    Quote Originally Posted by The Guardian
    Source

    Motorists who use mobile phones and tailgate other cars could be jailed under a tough new package of measures unveiled yesterday, aimed at stamping out bad habits. Drivers who kill on the roads are also more likely to face charges of manslaughter, instead of the lesser charge of death by dangerous driving, as part of plans by the Crown Prosecution Service.
    Behaviour for which drivers could be jailed for dangerous driving, rather than careless driving, include using a hand-held mobile on the move, tailgating, tuning a car radio, overtaking on the inside, running a red light, or emerging from a side road into the path of another vehicle.

    The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, said he believed public attitudes to bad driving had changed dramatically in recent years, and the CPS policy of prosecuting motorists might need to be modified as a result.
    The proposals have been drawn up in the light of growing public recognition of the serious effects of poor driving, and pressure by campaigning groups on the CPS to take motoring offences, particularly those causing death, more seriously.

    A consultation paper asks for views on whether a range of bad habits behind the wheel that are currently prosecuted as careless driving should be moved into the dangerous driving category, depending on factors such as speed and road conditions.

    The combination of a tougher prosecution policy and changes in the law coming into effect next year under the Road Safety Act 2006 means that many more motorists who misbehave on the roads could face a possible prison sentence.

    The act will create a new offence of causing death through careless driving, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    Prosecutors will also be able for the first time to charge offenders with manslaughter, which carries a maximum life sentence, and with causing death by dangerous driving, as alternatives, leaving it to the jury to decide. At present there is a disincentive to charge a driver with manslaughter because the driver walks free if prosecutors fail to satisfy the jury that there was an obvious and serious risk of death. Other alternative charges will include causing death by dangerous driving and the new offence of causing death by careless driving.

    Mr Macdonald said: "Public views have moved along in recent years and we want to make sure our policies reflect public views. The test is the person standing on the pavement watching: is it, 'That's a bit silly', or 'That's really dangerous'? Do people regard as dangerous driving that [which] they would not have regarded as dangerous five or 10 years ago?"

    The document, which applies to England and Wales, also asks for views on the current policy of generally not prosecuting a motorist whose driving led to the death of a close relative, providing no other people were endangered and the driver is not a continuing risk to others.

    It says: "We consider that, in light of changing public attitudes to bad driving and the introduction of a new offence of causing death by careless driving, this policy requires revision. While one cannot rule out absolutely exceptional cases where prosecution would be oppressive, in our view prosecution for these offences should be the normal course."

    The personal circumstances of the driver - for example, where the victim was the driver's child - would be an argument for mitigating the punishment, rather than a reason to avoid prosecution, it suggests.

    It also asks for feedback on where the boundary should be between dangerous and careless driving in cases of a single misjudgment, or a momentary lapse in concentration.
    If only the Americas would follow suit...

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    If only the Americas would follow suit...
    We just might, if enough of us push for true motorist accountability. MADD made a good start with drunk drivers; now it's time to raise the bar.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  3. #3
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    You'd think that 43,000 dead in this country every year would get some attention. But as a society we're in a weird state of denying our personal responsibility. God forbid we have to change our behaviour.

    Az

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    If only the Americas would follow suit...
    But it would infringe on my personal freedom and "rights" to drive! (tongue FIRMLY planted in cheek) I agree something like that is needed, however it is going to take at least a generation if not two to change people's attitudes towards anything. MADD has been at it for quite a few years but we still read daily reports of drunk drivers killing people. Personally I think sometimes vigilantism has it's plus sides. If enough drunk drivers were roughed up at the scene of an accident it might, just might convince people to stop the DUI. Currently there is no social stigma attached to a DUI in the USofA. Unfortunately too is the lack of proper and thorough prosecution of DUI. And when they do prosecute, suspend licenses etc people still continue to drive and DUI. In my area we have one of the lowest conviction rates for DUI in the state, it is being addressed. I suspect an overhaul of the justice system is in order to get the petty, minor things out of the court systems so the more important things like manslaughter and death by motor vehicle can be prosecuted. I have actually spent time as a court observer in the past for various cases and am still amazed by the number of people that were caught red handed speeding in say a school zone and know they were caught but still want to fight the ticket. In our area if you get the right lawyer and pay the right amount of money you can about get off with anything short of murder, and I am sure it is that way in other locales too. (rant off...I promise )

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  5. #5
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    I might be inclined to support cell phone bans while driving if the same logic were applied to other activities in which drivers engage while driving that get none of the public scrutiny that cell phone usage does. I would say, if you are going to ban cell phones, then, you should also ban the use of trip computers, radios (at least the tuning of the radio), coffee drinking, eating, etc. while driving.

    Using my cell phone to conduct business is one of the more useful things I can do while driving (as opposed to tuning the radio, changing tapes, discs, etc.). But, the public pushes for bans on that item to the exclusion of others. I will continue to civilly disobey such bans, as I feel they are, indeed, an intrusion into my freedom. You won't find me carrying any placards, I'll just quietly continue to discreetly do what I've been doing for years, thank you very much.

    Caruso --- Oh, and one more thing. As I read the article, it appears that the thread header is a bit overblown. It would appear that your use of a cell phone needs to be implicated as some sort of contributing factor in an accident for you to go to jail for using it while driving. Perhaps some would like to make cell phone use while driving a jailable offense, but, that a bit much if you ask me.

  6. #6
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    If only the Americas would follow suit...
    Of course. Another law is the answer to everything.

    If you're going to get behind a movement, consider for a minute making it education and driver training/testing rather than another law to be rarely and unevenly enforced. Teach people true car-control skills. Teach them that multiple lanes are there to allow the faster moving cars to go faster. Make sure the 90yr old man can still hold the steering wheel.

    We have roads full of incompetent drivers - with thousands more unleashed on the public each day - and a law is somehow going to make us all safe? Or you could be like many, and just put your kid and wife in the biggest monster SUV you can find, to keep them safe. That way, when they hit someone it's just the other poor kid/wife/etc who gets hurt.

  7. #7
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Of course. Another law is the answer to everything
    Ummm, correct me if I'm wrong, but the law already makes it illegal to drive while one's attention is impaired. This just recognizes the fact that impairment can be caused by things other than just drugs and alcohol.

    Driver training/testing is all well and good, but that will never take the place of punitive action against those that disregard that training.

  8. #8
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    Of course. Another law is the answer to everything

    Right you are, punishment after the fact won't fix the problem, it's just sates the vindictive urge.

    The first step towards betterment of the situation is to stop ****tin on those you want change from. Not everyone chooses to ride a bike (theres that ugly freedom of choice, pursuit of happiness thing). And not every car driver is a reckless miscreant.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  9. #9
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    The first step towards betterment of the situation is to stop ****tin on those you want change from. Not everyone chooses to ride a bike (theres that ugly freedom of choice, pursuit of
    happiness thing). And not every car driver is a reckless miscreant.

    Ahh yes... expecting motorists to pay fu<king attention to the 5000lb hunk of steel they're piloting is shytting on those I want change from (and somehow denying their freedom of choice).

    Give me a break.

  10. #10
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    Insurance company actuaries are rarely motivated by emotion. If they have assessed the accident risks involved in using a mobile phone while driving as being greater than those involved in DUI, and they have, then using a mobile is, de facto, bad driving and should be banned.

    Unfortunately, the UK government passed a law banning the use of handhelds, but gave a 3 month grace period after it came into operation, during which no-one would be prosecuted - a bizarre decision which led to no discernable reduction in their usage.

    Having watched people using them while driving, they do weem to have their concentration impaired because they appear to be acting as they would while on a landline, often gesturing, looking up and generally not paying attention. having had to blow my horn twice to attract the attention of a pillock who had been alongside me for about a mile while gassing away and who was lane drifint across towards me, I am not really assured by individual claims that they do it safely.

    I am not saying that they don't, by the way, it is simply that the level of accident risk assessed by insurance companies is too great to leave it to individual judgement as to safety.

  11. #11
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    Re; previous contribution. "They do weem..." is not some obscure UK English usage, merely a mistype for ""They do seem.."

  12. #12
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    ...a tough new package of measures unveiled yesterday, aimed at stamping out bad habits. Drivers who kill on the roads...
    Since when is killing on the roads a bad habit? I'd like to see something done about drivers and cell phones, but that article sounds like it was written by Sir Humphrey Appleby KCB, MVO, MA from "Yes Minister". All I can gather is that at some point there may or may not be firm steps taken on this proposal at a definite point in the near or distant future after futher discussions on the appropriateness of extending this policy to include or not include the deaths of family members.

  13. #13
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    Using my cell phone to conduct business is one of the more useful things I can do while driving (as opposed to tuning the radio, changing tapes, discs, etc.). But, the public pushes for bans on that item to the exclusion of others. I will continue to civilly disobey such bans, as I feel they are, indeed, an intrusion into my freedom. You won't find me carrying any placards, I'll just quietly continue to discreetly do what I've been doing for years, thank you very much.
    Wow. Your arrogance typifies everything that's wrong with today's drivers. You only have to be in the presence of someone using a cell phone to know that it absorbs far more attention than any other activity. Apparently you consider your right "to get things done" more important than the right of others, especially cyclists, to LIVE.

    If you want to drive, hang up. If you want to talk, pull over. But please don't my life or loved ones in danger with your self-absorbed preoccupation.
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

  14. #14
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Ahh yes... expecting motorists to pay fu<king attention to the 5000lb hunk of steel they're piloting is shytting on those I want change from (and somehow denying their freedom of choice).

    Give me a break.
    Yes. When did driving become a right? I was taught it was a privilege. Typical. I didn't get the memo.

    What we need is a law that would legalize cell-phone jamming equipment to be carried by cyclists. Once driver's learn that coming within 3 feet of a cyclist will make you lose your signal they'll keep their distance.
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

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