New government proposals to raise the fine for illegally using mobile phones behind the wheel are both “impotent and futile”, the country’s leading traffic lawyer has said.
Instead, Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said because it was the new “drink driving”, motorists flouting the law must be banned from the roads.
And in addition to receiving the same treatment from the courts, it also had to carry the same social stigma.
The lawyer – known for representing a string of high-profile clients in motoring cases – said simply raising the fine to £200 would not make any difference.
Mr Freeman said: “Research has consistently shown that illegal use of a mobile phone can be just as dangerous as drink driving, therefore the punishment must be changed to reflect this.
“Only two years ago the fine was raised from £60 to £100, and this had no deterrent effect. All it did was raise extra revenue. Putting it up to £200 will be equally impotent and futile.
“It’s not often I side with the police, but Gloucester’s chief constable Suzette Davenport and I are singing from the same hymn sheet on this issue. It’s just the government that is out of tune!
“However, if it wants to improve road safety as it claims, it must introduce measures that produce real results, not just a few tabloid headlines.
“Illegal phone driving must be put on a parity with drink driving – and it must also be made as socially unacceptable!”
He added: “Drink driving carries a minimum 12-month disqualification for a first offence, and my view is that there should be no difference for the illegal use of a mobile phone.
“A potential lengthy period of disqualification would eradicate this serious problem overnight.
“These more stringent measures would provide the ultimate deterrent and would reduce the number of road accidents, casualties and fatalities as a result.”