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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson today welcomed the news the Department for Transport is to push ahead with plans to increase fines and penalty points for drivers caught on their mobile phones.

Mr Jamieson – who introduced the ban on driving while using a handheld phone as Transport Minister on December 1, 2003 – has backed the proposal from the beginning.

He wrote to Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP offering his support and also suggested the extra cash from the fines could be redirected to local police forces for road safety measures and enforcement.

The Department for Transport has now concluded its consultation with the public and plans to raise the Fixed Penalty Notice for using a handheld phone while driving from £100 to £200. It will also increase penalty points from three to six for all drivers.

A total of 94 per cent of the online consultation respondents backed the idea, which is now set to become a reality.

The news is all the more pertinent following the case of Tomasz Kroker – the lorry driver who killed a mother and three children while scrolling through his phone while driving at 50mph.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “This is something I am extremely passionate about and I worked tirelessly to bring the original ban in in 2003.

“This is about saving lives. Studies have found that motorists who talk on their handheld phone while driving are four times more like to crash. Statistics also show that in just five years there were more than 3,000 accidents involving a driver on the phone.

“I therefore believe that these tougher penalties can only be a good thing – and the vast majority of the public agrees.

“But I want it to go further. I’d like to see our cash-strapped police forces benefit from the higher fines and be given that cash to help keep our roads safe.

“Driving while using a handheld mobile phone is potentially lethal – anything that stops people from behaving so dangerously must be welcomed.”

Click here for the Department for Transport’s new consultation document outlining the plan.
The PCC’s letter to Chris Grayling is at the side of the page.
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