Tag: Mobile Phones

New Drivers Using Mobile Phones May Lose Licence

New Drivers Using Mobile Phones May Lose Licence

New Drivers Using Mobile Phones May Lose Licence
Drivers caught using a phone within two years of passing their test will have their licence revoked under new rules in England, Scotland and Wales. Penalties for using a phone at the wheel double from 1 March to six points and a £200 fine. New drivers who get six points or more must retake their practical and theory. More experienced drivers can be banned if they get 12 points in three years.

The tougher punishments come alongside a hard-hitting advertising campaign. In 2015 – the latest year for which figures are available – 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents where a driver was using their phone.

Police forces have begun a seven day crackdown, with extra patrols and an “increased focus” on stopping people using their phones while driving.

About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from 23-29 January, the Department for Transport said.

Adverts aimed at discouraging phone use have been developed by the government’s road safety group Think! and the AA Charitable Trust, and will be shown at cinemas and on billboards, radio and social media.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users. Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.”

Calls to prevent drivers using phones intensified last year in the wake of several high-profile cases and research indicating that it was widespread.

In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who killed a mother and three children while distracted by his phone, was jailed for 10 years.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said too many drivers were addicted to their phones. “We need to break this addiction and the best way is for drivers to go cold turkey – turn off the phone and put it in the glove box.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council roads policing lead, said: “We need people to understand that this is not a minor offence that they can get away with.”

EE to Improve 4G and Relocate Customer Services

EE to Improve 4G and Relocate Customer Services

EE to Improve 4G and Relocate Customer Services
Mobile phone operator EE is aiming to bring 4G to 95% of the UK landmass by 2020 as well as relocating its customer services to the UK and Ireland. In 2015, the firm was fined £1m ($1.4m) by communications watchdog Ofcom over customer service failings.

EE_4G_citiesThe network will also switch on high-speed 4G in the Shetland Islands and the Isles of Scilly this week.

Chief Executive Marc Allera told the BBC customers expected to be able to access the internet wherever they were. Currently, 4G coverage is measured as a percentage of the population rather than geographically. That means mobile networks typically focus on areas where lots of people live rather than extending geographical reach of their services.

“The Isles of Scilly have 2,000 residents but 200,000 visitors,” said Mr Allera. “Increasingly, the expectations from customers are that they can get access to the internet wherever they go.”

BT-owned EE’s ambitions for 4G go beyond the government’s target for operators, which is to provide voice and text coverage to only 90% of UK landmass by the end of 2017.

“I don’t believe as an industry we should say a beach is covered unless it has 4G coverage,” said Mr Allera.

This demand for 4G may help mobile networks tackle public opposition to infrastructure such as transmitter masts required to enable it, he added.

“The barriers we need to overcome are around how fast and easy we can get access to these sites [where the masts can be built], and also how we ensure we don’t have landlords who can charge ransom rates which make it prohibitive for us to put in a solution,” he said. “We’re working on those reforms but we can’t do this by ourselves.” EE is working with the government to tackle the issue, Mr Allera said.

Ovum analyst Matthew Howett said reforms were “vital” for the success of the strategy. “Unless the government takes a lead on ensuring fair and reasonable access and site rentals, EE’s hopes for 95% coverage will be fraught with difficulty,” he said.

EE said it also aimed to bring all its customer services operations back to the UK and Ireland from overseas by the end of 2016.

“It’s a big investment,” said Marc Allera. “People look at off-shoring as reducing costs but when you look at the added cost of unhappy customers… actually this isn’t going to be an enormous incremental cost.”

He declined to say whether customers would face price rises as a result but said that the competitiveness of the market would “ensure we focus on value for money”.