In a response to an Assembly Question by East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs, the Justice Minister has outlined that there were 878 convictions for using a mobile phone whilst driving in 2015 alone.
East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs said “It is shocking to learn that nearly 900 people have been convicted in 2015 alone for using a mobile phone whilst driving. In addition to this, it is outlined in the Ministerial response that nearly 3,000 mobile phone offenses have been registered in the past 3 years which shows the ongoing nature and significant extent of the problem on our roads.”
Mr Beggs, a member of the Justice Committee at Stormont, added “Educating drivers and passengers of the dangers of driver distraction is vital. With some almost addicted their smart phone, there needs to be greater awareness of how delayed reaction could be costly and indeed life changing. I am aware that on mainland GB penalty point notices will be doubled from 3 to 6 points from early 2017 for mobile phone mis-use. Given the numbers of prosecuted in NI, it would seem that there is a need to review the penalty points and fines as a means of deterrent against mobile phone mis-use while driving. I am aware that fines in Britain are also to double from £100 to £200 in conjunction with the increased penalty points, so this is another option that could be considered as part of a wider strategy to reduce mobile phone mis-use and could save lives on our roads.”