Teenagers who use their mobile phones to send texts while driving could soon find Big Brother, or rather Big Parent, breathing down their necks, according to a report in The Observer (RoadSafe News, January ’09).
A new service called Textecution uses a phone's in-built GPS system to detect how fast the handset is travelling. If the phone is moving quicker than 10mph, its messaging capability is immediately shut down. When the phone comes to a stop, for example at traffic lights or when parked, the driver is allowed to send texts again.
Textecution is one of several innovations resulting from growing concerns about drivers concentrating on their phones instead of on the road.
Textecution is a $10 application that can be downloaded in Britain or America on Google's mobile phone platform Android. A parent registers their details with the service and installs it on their child's phone, so that its movements will then be tracked by satellite. If the child tries to text while travelling at more than 10mph, the phone screen says, ‘you are moving too fast to use this application’.
Speeding prosecutions up sevenfold
Figures obtained by a Conservative MP under the Freedom of Information Act show the number of speeding prosecutions and fines has increased sevenfold in10 years.
MP Mark Field's request found safety camera offences rose from 262,000 in 1996 to 1,865,000 in 2006.
The Cities of London and Westminster MP told BBC 2's Daily Politics he wanted the ‘pendulum turned back to the long suffering motorist’, adding that cameras were ‘more about money raising than safety on roads’. He also said he objects to the ‘excessive use’ of cameras and the ‘overzealous penalising of drivers’.
The AA president, Edmund King told the programme a decline in traffic police was a more serious concern. "A speed camera does not pick up the illegal foreign truck driver or boy racer with stolen plates, but a traffic cop can," he said. "We need to reverse this trend and increase traffic cops not only to make our roads safer but to make society safer."
A businessman has admitted driving at 147mph on the A9 - one of the highest speeds ever recorded on the road.
John McAllister was clocked doing more than twice the speed limit while travelling to the Rock Ness music festival. Inverness Sheriff Court heard he was returning to the concert after buying tobacco for a friend from a cash and carry in Glasgow, 177 miles away.
The court was told that McAllister had been attending the festival on 8 June when a friend ran out of tobacco. He jumped into his high-powered Mercedes and drove to a cash and carry in Glasgow. It was during his return trip that officers spotted him on the dual carriageway at Daviot, south of Inverness.
The sheriff fined him £800 and disqualified him for two years, ordering him to re-sit the extended driving test after the ban.
Inspector John Smith, head of Northern Constabulary's road traffic section, said the sentence reflected the "extremely reckless nature" of his driving.