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Mobile phones: more dangerous than they look

We all know how dangerous cars are. In Britain alone almost 2,000 people are killed every year and in 2015 23,000 were seriously injured – more than half of them in built-up areas where speed restrictions should be adequate to prevent such carnage, but are not.

In a country where healthcare and diet are amongst the best in the world, where famine pestilence and disease don’t exist, young people are protected from many of the worst catastrophes that afflicted people in the past or from other less fortunate parts of the world. Unfortunately we do little to protect them from cars.

In the last 50 years, year by year, passenger safety has improved as technology and design in motor manufacture has concentrated on reducing the effects of collisions: ironically this has given drivers a sense of immunity and a distance from the people they drive past and sometimes through. Sitting in their motorised sitting rooms, listening to the hi-fi and playing with an array of sophisticated electronic gadgetry, drivers have been increasingly removed from an awareness of what happens when metal hits flesh.

Add into the equation our obsessive attachment to smartphones and serious accidents become inevitable.

So Berkeley Squares unreservedly welcomes the legislation that came into force this week increasing fines for drivers caught using their phones and the doubling of penalty points for offenders.

The new legislation reinforces the existing law and serves as an apt reminder of what the law says. The key points to be aware of are that any use of a phone in moving or even stationary traffic whilst the engine is running is illegal and texting whilst driving is possibly the most dangerous activity of all.

Perhaps less well known is that the use of a smartphone as a sat-nav in traffic is also illegal. The message is simple – drivers should put phones out of reach during a journey. And as a passenger you have a responsibility to remind them.