Time to seize cellphones used by drivers

The police should have the power to seize cellphones being used by drivers while a car is in motion, says a leading road safety expert.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car buyer’s Dog & Lemon Guide, says that simply banning cellphones won’t work because many users are prepared to risk a fine rather than miss a call. However, says Matthew-Wilson, most cellphone users would hate to lose their cellphone and this fear would eventually modify their behaviour.

“Cellphone use by drivers is banned in about fifty countries, yet drivers continue to use their cellphones regardless. Clearly, we need to move beyond simply giving drivers tickets to taking their cellphones away.”

Under Matthew-Wilson’s proposal, the police would have the discretion to return the cellphone after a certain amount of time, such as a week. Repeat offenders would lose their cellphones altogether.

“What cars and cellphones have in common is that they give us freedom. Take away that freedom and you give drivers a powerful incentive to modify their behaviour.”