Drivers using mobile phones face tougher penalties

The RHA has applauded the government’s decision to apply much tougher penalties in equal measure to motorists and HGV drivers caught using their hand-held phones while driving.

From early next year, penalties will double, with all drivers caught using their mobile phones automatically receiving 
six points on their licence instead of the current three. They will also receive an on-the-spot fine, which will double from £100 to £200.

The move will see the government crack down harder on motorists than originally planned.

A consultation document published in January this year had proposed tougher penalties for HGV drivers than general motorists, with the latter receiving four penalty points compared with HGV drivers’ six penalty points.

However, concern at the rising use of mobile phones whilst driving, particularly among younger drivers and male drivers, and the rise in fatal driving accidents involving mobile phone use, has seen 
the government opt for punitive sanctions across the board.

Announcing the tougher penalties, transport secretary Chris Grayling said that using mobile phones while driving must become as unacceptable in society as drink or drug driving.

“It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others,” he said.

RHA national policy director Jack Semple said the association had lobbied against the proposed lesser penalty for motorists during the consultation period. “We made our point forcibly to government and we’re delighted that they’ve dropped plans for different fixed penalties for lorry drivers than for everyone else,” he said.

The image above, released this week by Leicestershire Police, shows the aftermath of a crash on 24 November 2014. It occurred after a 38-year-old woman – given a five year prison sentence in July of this year – lost control of her vehicle while using a mobile phone. She collided with an HGV, causing it to cross the central reservation, resulting in the death of a BMW driver travelling in the opposite direction as well as several injuries, some long-term.

Haldex board recommends approval of ZF Friedrichshafen takeover

The board of Swedish brake and suspension manufacturer Haldex has recommended that shareholders accept an improved bid from ZF Friedrichshafen.

The board had previously recommended that Haldex shareholders accept the offer by the German suitor, first at a level of SEK100 (£9) per Haldex share, and then for SEK110 per share.

This comes despite a higher bid from Knorr-Bremse of SEK125 per Haldex share.

In a statement (19 September) the company said Knorr-Bremse was a riskier option.