Drivers Face Prison For Using Mobiles

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New legislation that is to be brought in will now mean motorists caught driving whilst on a mobile handset could be sent to jail for up to two years. The change in policy has come about as the altered laws involving mobiles and driving that were introduced in September are said not to have had the desired effect on motorists.

Using a mobile phones while driving was first banned in 2003, but since then thousands of drivers ignore the law each day, despite an increased £60 fine and penalty points being introduced in September.

Under the new guidelines most motorists caught using mobile handsets whilst driving will still face the increased fine and penalty points that was introduced in September. The changes however will give courts more power against anyone who has an accident whilst on their mobile, the result of which could be a dangerous driving conviction and a two year jail term.

Increased penalties do not solely apply to accidents but any driving that falls short of what is deemed safe. Sending text messages, speeding and over taking whilst on a mobile could therefore result in the increased penalties. The laws also include using Sat-Nav devices whilst driving.

Motorists who cause death on the road could additionally be prosecuted for manslaughter, a charge that carries penalties up to life imprisonment.

The change in policy comes at a time when the safety of using mobile hands free kits whilst driving has also been thrown into question, with one large transport company already banning employees from using them.

Findings from the Transport research Laboratory had suggested that driving whilst using a mobile handset could be more dangerous than drink driving. Other reports have also suggested using a mobile behind the wheel puts a drivers concentration at the same levels as the drink drive limit.

With hands free kits also being declared unsafe, it is suggested that it is actually speaking to someone not in the car themselves that is deemed distracting and is therefore dangerous.

“What we think that is to do with is that the passenger can see the traffic around you and can maybe pick up on your body language cues, and then modify the conversation accordingly.” Said Dr Nick Reed

I agree with the fact that driving whilst using a mobile phone is not only irresponsible but can impair someone’s driving ability, but to make such a stark comparison to drink driving is more a scare tactic in my opinion.

I can understand how concentration levels may temporarily drop whilst a mobile call is taken, but this is for the duration of the call, and no way does someone remain under that reduced state of awareness for anything like the length of time a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol does.

If talking on a hands free kit is distracting, so too is talking to passengers, however I doubt the government will advise against car sharing!

Drivers who do answer a mobile whilst driving certainly do not set out on their journey with the intention of breaking the law, and it is a split second decision to answer the call. This does not justify it, but this point is intended solely to make the comparison with a driver under the influence who sets out intentionally breaking the law, knowing full well his ability to drive will be impaired for the entire duration of their journey. Yet people who do use a mobile handset could still end up with a two year jail term along side people the steal, rape and murder.

It is the culture of using electronic device behind the wheel that needs to be tackled, and with increased policing this culture would change.

“We’d like to see police on the streets taking action. The best deterrent is for a motorist to be either pulled over themselves or know someone else who has been stopped.” RAC

Unfortunately increased penalties which result in jail terms will only send otherwise law abiding members of society to an already overcrowded prison system, whilst proper criminals get increased parole, home sentencing and ASBO tracking.

Tougher Penalties For Speeding

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I read news today about the governments intentions to increase the penalties for speeding so that motorists could loose their license after two speeding offences instead of four.

Under the proposals that were outlined toady, motorists who are caught doing 45 mph in a 30 mph zone could receive a £100 fine and six points on their license as opposed to the current £60 and three points.

Currently motorists are allowed twelve points on a licence over a three year period, but this increase in penalty points alters how many offences one licensee can commit over that period of time.

The increased penalties will also apply to drivers who commit speeding offences in higher speed zones. Drivers doing 70 mph in 50 mph zones and 94 mph in 70 mph zones will also receive the increased penalties under the proposals.

In a reversal the government shelved plans to lower the penalty for drivers who are caught speeding just over the limit. :|

I know people will say the bottom line is don’t speed, but as founder of safespeed.org says . . .

“A speed limit is nothing more than a weak proxy for the desired behaviour. Drivers will rightly be concerned that they will be faced with losing their licences for six months after two perfectly routine cases of driving safely. We all know that exceeding the speed limit isn’t automatically dangerous.”

I would be surprised if anybody can honestly state that when it is safe they don’t speed, even if by a few mph. I support any action that is put in place to make the road safer, such as speed cameras in accident black spots, but increasing driving penalties in such a way will only increase the estimated 4.5 million drivers who have points on their license and 21% of drivers who are only three points off a six month ban already.

Space Tourism : The QUID

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Recently on The Shelf, Google’s private enterprise competition was discussed, and how by offering a $30million the search giant hopes to boost non-government backed missions to the moon.

Such incentives only boost private funding for missions into space, and although a moon landing seems the next frontier for the private sector, it has already been successful with other areas of space travel.

So much is this the case that already the concept of ‘Space Tourism’ is not foreign to most. Although the Russian Space Agency is currently the only provider of tourist space flights, people are well aware that with enough money the opportunity to take a trip into outer space is available to anybody.

Although currently restricted to an elite group, trips into space are thought to become commonplace in the next five years, with trips to the moon estimated by 2050. There is already an inflatable hotel being developed for commercial use by Bigelow Aerospace after a successful prototype was launched into orbit last year.

So if space is the next tourist frontier, then what will participants use to pay for goods and services whilst not on Earth. Coins would be deemed to sharp and would pose a danger to astronauts, whilst chips and magnetic strips used in debit or credit cards on Earth would be damaged beyond repair by cosmic radiation. This was a question answered when I stumbled upon an unusual story today about the development of a new currency, the QUID.

The new inter-planetary currency has been designed to withstand the stress of space travel and has no sharp edges or dangerous chemicals. Made of the polymer the QUID (Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination), was designed was designed for Travelex, the popular foreign exchange company, and currently quotes the currency at £6.25 to the QUID.

Pingo International Calling Cards

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If you have friends abroad, keeping in contact regularly can be difficult and expensive. That is why the international prepaid phone cards from Pingo are a great way to ensure you stay in touch with close friends abroad.

Pingo calling cards can be used for both domestic and international calls and can save you up to 90% on international mobile phone calls, and when you sign up you will receive up to 5 hour of free International calls as a sign up bonus.

Pingo also offers a special phone card blog discount coupon: “ppp3” valid for $3 off Pingo. You will also receive $25 phone card for just $17.

Pingo can not only lower the price of your international calls, but strive to deliver the best calling card experience around. With a dedicated customer service team, you can also get more out of your account by creating sub accounts for additional family members, an extra saving on holding multiple calling accounts.

Pingo’s is a service of iBasis, providing a reliable network that delivers over 1.1 billion International phone card minutes a month. Worth investigating if you make a lot of international phone calls.


Triumph out of disaster

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After my previous post about my trip to Poole in Dorset I thought I right to set the record straight. True it was a terrible start top the weekend, however after breaking down and limping to our final destination 10 miles later we decide to put the extra effort in to ensure the rest of the weekend wasn’t spoilt.

We arrived late on the Friday night tired and thoroughly fed up, so we decided to log on to Trusted Places to quickly check out some attractions that were near by. As we only had one day remaining, we ended up making plans to shop in the morning and eat in the afternoon before driving back the following evening.

Having previously lived in Poole I have a fairly good idea of what was on offer, but we found a great little Café where we had a fantastic lunch in the Dolphin centre. For those of you unfamiliar this was right in the centre of town, in the main shipping complex.

This was only a five minute walk to the quay and so we then spend the afternoon by the sea with one of the main themed gatherings in full swing. This weekend we managed to catch motorbikes, and we were impressed with the sight of several hundred motorcycles sprawled along the quay.

Although a valuable lesson learned, we were able to efficiently save the weekend and have a great final day in Poole before we travelled home.

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