Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman has slammed leading police officers for saying they might not impose new, tough penalties for drivers illegally using mobile phones.
From March, drivers caught breaking the law face a £200 fine and six penalty points. However, some leading police officers have said they wanted to be able offer some motorists road safety courses, which would benefit forces financially.
But the “loophole lawyer” – who has consistently called for the offence to carry the same punishment as drink driving – said on this matter the police must uphold the law to the letter.
Mr Freeman said: “Over the years I have repeatedly called for harsher penalties for drivers illegally using mobile phones. This practice is as dangerous as drink driving, and therefore those breaking the law should face an immediate 12-month ban combined with a hefty fine.
“I’m particularly surprised at the comments made by Gloucester’s chief constable, Suzette Davenport, saying police had to be proportionate in their response. This will do nothing to reduce this perilous habit. In my view it will do the reverse!
“Whilst I accept that the police must always retain a discretion, because of the endemic proportions that this problem has now reached, coupled with a level of distraction which has parity with driving driving, the discretion should only be exercised in one way, ie prosecute.
“Any leeway will be perceived by the motorist as a greenlight to continue this socially repugnant habit in certain circumstances.”
“This is quite clearly a case of coppers being more interested in pounds than road safety.”