Ministers are considering doubling the number of penalty points drivers are given when they are caught driving while speaking on a mobile phone, The Guardian reported.
The move was recommended by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, after the first increase in deaths and injuries from dangerous driving on the capital’s streets in more than a decade. It would mean a driving ban for anyone who was caught twice in three years.
McLoughlin told The Guardian that he was closely considering the proposal because the “amounts of casualties there have been are absolutely appalling”.
“The person using their phone doesn’t realise the damage or the danger they can be in. It ends up ruining different people’s lives – those who are driving as well as those who are injured.
“It is one that I want to look at. There could be some difficulties about it but I think we’ve got to get that message across to people about safety.
“We have been very lucky in this country in seeing, year on year, the number of road deaths and casualties actually falling. But one death is one too many and we need to look at those and see where we are going.”
Driving while holding a mobile phone has been illegal since 2003. Edmund King, president of the AA, said his group’s surveys suggest that the majority of drivers see other drivers on the phone on most journeys.
“The current deterrent just isn’t working. Many drivers seem addicted to their phones and just can’t resist looking at a text or tweet at the wheel,” he said.
“We need a concerted effort to crack this addiction with harsher penalties linked to an information and enforcement campaign. Ultimately it will take more cops in cars to get motorists to hang up behind the wheel.”