“At no point have I issued guidance to officers to seize mobile phones from drivers at the site of every road traffic collision.”- Suzette Davenport
Since last week, there have been floods of reportings that contained the statement; EVERY driver involved in a car crash will have their hand-held mobile phone seized to check if they were using it prior to the accident. With recent reports suggesting that more than 500 people are killed or seriously injured each year in the UK because drivers have been calling, texting or posting to social media, the intent was to crack down on mobile distractions while driving. Just aster the issue of this report, there has been massive, country-wide freakout going on in the UK.
However, the Association of Chief Police Officers(ACPO) has issued a formal statement which suggests that this speculation is nothing but a blatant RUMOUR. The National Policing Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, has issued the following statement:
“It is fair to say that we as a service are looking at ways of making officers and drivers more aware of the difference between the offences of driving while not in proper control of the vehicle – which is a distraction offence – and driving while using a mobile phone. Part of this process involves making sure officers know the best means of using information within a driver’s mobile phone when building evidence for a successful prosecution, such as finding from call or text logs if the phone was in use at the time of an incident.
“It has been standard practice to seize mobile phones from drivers at the scenes of very serious collisions for some time as part of the information and evidence gathering process, but it is not now, nor will it be, standard practice to seize phones from drivers after every collision.
“Drivers must continue to be aware not only of the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a car, but the serious penalties which they will face if they are caught. We are unequivocal in our determination to keep all road users safe.”
So, it is clear that your hand-held phone will not be snathced from you for a ‘minor-shunt’- just the ones the officers believe could be useful in a prosecution – a difference without much of distinction. 🙂