There's little question that driving while holding your phone is incredibly dangerous. In the UK alone, some 500 people are estimated to be seriously injured or killed each year because of car and truck drivers using their phones behind the wheel – a staggering figure that is leading British authorities to take controversial action.

The UK's Association of Chief Police Officers has issued guidelines to law enforcement officials to confiscate the phones of anyone involved in a traffic accident so that police can determine if they were using their mobile devices when the accident took place. If a driver is found to have been using his or her phone and caused a serious crash, that driver could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

While the police are determined to crack down on phone use behind the wheel, others are justifiably worried about where the measure could lead. "I am 100-percent against anyone texting while drive," Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers said to Visordown, "But I'm worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn't mean they should lose their phone." Imagine having someone hit your car, then having the police confiscating your phone, leaving you with no way to get home, and you can see what Bladon is on about. Beyond the inconvenience, there's also further privacy concerns – will UK authorities have the right to search the rest of your phone, including emails and text messages?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 88 Comments
      Lachmund
      • 4 Months Ago
      It's incredible how few personal rights people in the UK seem to have.
        Chris
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Lachmund
        It's incredible what people are willing to give up for a sense, or false sense, of security and safety.
        aatbloke1967
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Lachmund
        "It's incredible how few personal rights people in the UK seem to have" What a ridiculous comment. It is illegal to use a phone whilst driving in the UK without a hands-free system or Bluetooth to enable both hands to remain on the steering wheel. The reason is simple - it's an avoidable distraction which is known to cause accidents. People in the UK have as many right as any other industrialised country, if not more. There's no ridiculous age 21 drinking age, for example, and live television isn't censored because of the mere hint of a black woman's breast during a live entertainment act.
          Lachmund
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Unfortunately my comment is far from ridiculous. I simply know we in Germany wouldn't allow the police to seize your phone after an accident. We also don't allow our state to spie on us 24/7, put cameras everywhere and all the nice stuff they do in your nice country. Don't get me wrong, I like the UK and I have quite alot of british friends but you are FAR from a free country. (Not that the U.S. are all that different but even they put more emphasis on personal rights than the british do.) I don't get why but somehow the british (some of my UK friends as well) have this strange opinion that it's not bad if it doesn't harm one. (Like "just behave and you have nothing to worry") I despise this attitude.
          BodyBlue
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          ROFL.....our SCOTUS just ruled that police have NO RIGHT to look into a cell phone without a warrant....because we have the silly little thing called "The Bill of Rights" that spells out just what the government does not have the right to do. British Subjects are spied upon by their government 24/7 with cameras......dont get prissy and start saying that because Benny Hill showed some tits that Britain is freer than anybody else.
          BodyBlue
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          People are freer if they can drink alcohol at 18 but are spied on 24/7? ROFLMAO,
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          You're all entitled to your opinions, but the UK has more freedom of expression than either the US or Germany or practically anywhere else. In the Germany you'll be water-cannoned out of existence, and Americans are manipulated into extraordinary levels of debts that they daren't even make any form of protestation against their government if their lives depended upon it. And that brings me to quality of life: the US has a higher violent crime rate, high SSRI usage rate, higher divorce rate and higher bankruptcy rate than any other country in the industrialised world. And since both the German and American governments actively spy on their own citizenry, they're hardly free to do what they want either. Spend any degree of time in the US and you'll find most people to be acrimonious, critical and malevolent even towards one another. In Germany, not so much, although they're renowned for taking themselves far too seriously.
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Drinking before the age of 21 and looking at boobies on live tv is the best you can come up with? How old are you? 14?
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "Drinking before the age of 21 and looking at boobies on live tv is the best you can come up with? How old are you? 14?" Given the staggering levels of attention Americans pay to both topics, I'd say it's pertinent to the conversation. I'm 46.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "because we have the silly little thing called "The Bill of Rights" that spells out just what the government does not have the right to do" Ah, so that explains your daily helping of mass shootings. You must be bereft with pride.
      Alan Ko
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just buy a beater phone like the one in the picture and give it to the law, instead of your precious one.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 4 Months Ago
      Fascist nanny-state, it is.
      Nick
      • 4 Months Ago
      500 is .000008% of the UK population. That is not what I would call a problem. 6 times as many people are seriously injured or killed because of drunk driving. 3 times as many people accidentally poison themselves. More people die from falling down stairs.
        Brodz
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Nick
        Estimated 500 injuries or deaths caused by people using their phones. 500 that should not happen, and let's not just assume it's the people using their phone that get injured or killed. The authorities can't stop people from accidentally poisoning themselves, or stop them from falling down stairs, nor can they pass laws to discourage such things. They can however do so for idiots who use their phone while driving.
      Brodz
      • 4 Months Ago
      I don't how I'd feel about that. Obviously I'd want to cooperate with the authorities... but don't know if I could trust that anyone in the police service wouldn't abuse their power. Use my phone to make calls, texts, emails, or use my social media accounts. What about those that have some 'private' pictures on their phone?
        b.rn
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Brodz
        Do you really think the police have nothing better to do than use your phone to make calls and send texts? I assure you, they're not that interested in your life.
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @b.rn
          They may or may not be interested in his life, but I can still see some scenarios where they might decide to snoop. Say a young and at least somewhat attractive female is involved in an accident, and the cops decide to look through her phone for texts and photos she's been sending to her boyfriend for no other reason than their own entertainment. You know how people can be.
      Neez
      • 4 Months Ago
      Thank god i live in America, where we have things called "rights" and freedom. You could make any country safer if you just gave the police all the power they wanted. They could search whatever, go in where ever, and record whatever. No doubt, your crime stats would decrease. But of course, you would literally have no freedom and live under oppression. There's no such thing as a perfect crime free society, freedom and crime require a balancing act. The UK is just biased too far towards crime fighting.
        dfkd
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Neez
        Uh... Your government is just taking the information without asking you. At least they're getting the courtesy of knowing that their information has been seized.
          Neez
          • 4 Months Ago
          @dfkd
          Yep, and nearly all american's are PO'd about it.
        CTCR
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Neez
        The USA has one the highest incarceration rates in the world... Nobody is free on this planet unless they're miles away from authority and technology. That's free...
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CTCR
          That was not stated in his post you jerk. If you had read my post then you would see that asked him what it was based on. Can you read, or are you just another illiterate jackass?
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CTCR
          Not understanding the down votes. With America having the 3rd largest population in the world then it should come as no surprise that it has incarceration rates in the world. Clearly stats are not some of you all's forte.
          0c04b745@opayq.com
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CTCR
          ... at least according to your own shallow, poorly reasoned definition of "free".
          Neez
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CTCR
          We have ghetto's where 80% of crime takes place. That stems from years of slavery and oppression with segregation all the way up to the 1950's. So we've only had about 60 years to come out of it, but the inner cities have a culture all unto their own which only perpetuate poverty and crime. It's an endless cycle that will take much longer to fix.
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @CTCR
          Good points, but is that based on a percentage of the population, or just the number of people incarcerated in this country? If it's the latter then those stats my be skewed when you take into consideration that the US is the 3rd most populous country in the world, behind only China and India.
        Iane
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Neez
        I live in the UK, if you are law abiding then there's nothing to worry about. My phone stays in the glovebox when I'm driving, period.
          Lachmund
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          That must be the most disgusting and worst comment on this matter..just behave and you have nothing to fear. Reminds me of eastern Germany! Damn sheepl.
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          If everyone had that attitude then you might one day find yourself saying "I don't mind if the cops barge in through my front door and search my home without probable cause because I'm a law abiding system and have nothing to worry about".
          Jarda
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          fence-abiding livestock doesn't have to worry about the electricity in the fence
          ufgrat
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          Sounds like the police will seize it anyway. So are hands-free (ie, bluetooth) style devices legal still? After all, your phone will still work just fine from inside the glovebox, so if your car is equipped with bluetooth, the police should still take your phone. A number of studies have come out recently showing that cellphone bans haven't actually reduced accident rates-- any similar studies going on in the UK? Personally, I think if you can't drive a car and carry on a conversation without having an accident, you probably aren't qualified to drive a car AT ALL, but I suppose it's elitist or anti-PC or something to state that some people just shouldn't be allowed to drive due to limited capability.
          space
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          Yea and youre a $!#$
          ckm
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...
          Narom
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Iane
          @Brendon Except they can't...there is privacy laws you know...
        aatbloke1967
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Neez
        Neez, that's why you have such a preposterous violent crime rate. Civilised countries wouldn't tolerate it.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "Thanks bloke. We needed a good laugh. From your comment, I think it's safe to say you've never even set foot in this country." We spent over ten years there. When the school shooting in Chardon, OH occurred - which I'm sure you're au fait with - the wife said enough was enough and the kids went back to a British school. I still spend swathes of time there on business. So, as is so often the case with Americans, the laugh's well and truly on you.
          Chris
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Thanks bloke. We needed a good laugh. From your comment, I think it's safe to say you've never even set foot in this country. Just stick to things you know, like fish n chips, bad teeth, and hooliganism.
        Lachmund
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Neez
        Is this Post sarcasm?! I can't tell
          Neez
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          I just say it like it is. Take away people's freedom and less people would be able to get away with crimes. However, you wouldn't be free and would be therefore oppressed. What kind of life is that??
      IBx27
      • 4 Months Ago
      The exact kind of liberal paradise this country's current leader would like to force us to become.
        ckm
        • 4 Months Ago
        @IBx27
        Which country is 'this'?
        Lachmund
        • 4 Months Ago
        @IBx27
        Don't talk about stuff you seem to know nothing about. Stuff like this has nothing to do with liberal politics. Exactly the opposite..this is right winged, conservative BS.
          Neez
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          Actually, this is how progressives think. Look at mayor bloomberg and cuomo "stop and frisk". If you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to worry about kind of BS. It's only the liberals that want to rewrite the constitution as well.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          Fascism consists of dictatorial rule which constrains the personal freedoms which the right-wing dictator heading the regime chooses to see fit. A left-wing extremist communist regime will normally outlaw religious beliefs and constrain the economic means of the populace. The children posting on here have no idea whatsoever as to the conceptual aspects of the political spectrum. Confiscating a mobile phone? Definitely a fascist ideal since they'll be afraid of its content. A communist ideal would be the will to deprive the public's ability to afford one. At either end of the spectrum, democracy disappears.
          IBx27
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          aatbloke, when will you realize that fascism and communism are the same? Conservative values line up with minding your own business and non-involvement; liberal values involve an all-powerful government that will give you a free phone and actively search it when they feel like it.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          "aatbloke, when will you realize that fascism and communism are the same? " They're not. They're at either end of the political spectrum. Fascism consists of a single dictatorship which peddles one specific form of religion and expects the populace to be manipulated with a prescribed set of rigid ideals. Communism, on the other hand, sits on the far left and involves a ruling supreme party which outlaws all religion and suppresses economic growth by ensuring the populace cannot strive to attain personal financial wealth beyond a specific level, usually by way of common ownership.
          Lachmund
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          @IBx27 What do I have to do with aatbloke? I don't get it
        aatbloke1967
        • 4 Months Ago
        @IBx27
        I'd rather live in a "liberal paradise" if it means my children aren't at risk from being shot at on a weekly basis in their schools. Americans can be such inordinate morons.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "Then why post on an American site?" Because we have a concept unknown to the fascist element of American society known as "freedom of expression" - not merely the ability to utter sentiments you only want to hear.
          aatbloke1967
          • 4 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          BodyBlue - how's the latest shooting in NC doing for your ego?
      From The Back Seat
      • 4 Months Ago
      Sounds like it is time for someone to invent the self-destruct app.
      Card13
      • 4 Months Ago
      It takes a few minutes for the police to arrive to the scene of an accident, so any sane person would go back and delete their call/text history up to a few minutes before the crash. Unless they're going through the time consuming and expensive process of recovering deleted data, this doesn't seem majorly helpful.
      Narom
      • 4 Months Ago
      Oh look the ill informed commenting. The practice has been going on for years. When i was in the police we took the phone because certain things can't be told from the provider. I've personally found someone playing candy crush saga behind the wheel, and if i hadn't of looked at the phone they wouldn't have admitted that then would have made the death by dangerous driving case i built harder.
        trill.trill
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Narom
        Okay, now that I have all of your (grammatically nightmarish) information, I'll make an informed comment: I don't think you had the right to look at the phone. It sounds like many others agree with me.
      SloopJohnB
      • 4 Months Ago
      Put the phone in the trunk and lock it.
        ReTired
        • 4 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Just exercise some personal responsibility - don't call or text or answer a call...or turn it off. Pull over somewhere to communicate. The phone should be "at hand", not in hand, while driving.
      Scott Bieser
      • 4 Months Ago
      A callous disregard for the rights of the motoring public? What do these people think they are, Americans?
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