DRIVERS who put other road users at risk by talking on their mobile phones or applying their make-up at the wheel could face being jailed.

Under new reforms proposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, motorists who persist in flouting the ban on using hand-held phones could be charged with dangerous driving and face two years behind bars.

If their behaviour results in a fatal crash they could be jailed for 14 years or life if convicted of reckless driving which ends in a fatality.

Prosecutors want more drivers charged with the most serious motoring charge, manslaughter, for which a conviction can mean a life sentence.

Dorset's Chief Crown Prosecutor Kate Brown said: "Talking on your mobile phone and applying make-up while driving are just a couple of examples of bad driving currently regarded as careless driving, for which culprits cannot be jailed.

"We are seeking the public's views as to whether these types of bad driving should be considered as dangerous driving, which would mean that offenders could face two years in jail or 14 years to life if their bad driving resulted in a fatality."

The proposed shake-up comes as a new survey showed that almost one third of motorists quizzed in the South West had admitted flouting the hand-held phone ban.

Statistics released by Admiral reveal that 32.5 per cent of drivers questioned had spoken on their mobiles while at the wheel. The survey also showed that 23.7 per cent of those polled had been breathalysed by the police and 13.7 per had frequently broken the speed limit.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, less than a quarter want more speed cameras on local roads. More than half had suffered the ordeal of having their cars stolen or broken into.

More than 40 per cent had used public transport in the last month and 66 per cent believed they would still be able to pass a driving test.

More than three-quarters believed that parents should be discouraged from taking their children on the school run. Tailgating was the number one gripe among South West drivers.

Public to have say on offences

VICTIMS of road traffic offences are to have their say, for the first time, on how offenders are prosecuted and the service offered to them and witnesses.

Dorset's Chief Crown Prosecu-tor Kate Brown said: "Over the years there have been a number of cases involving deaths as a result of bad driving in Dorset and I think it is important that local people take this opportunity to shape CPS policy on this issue."

Legislation governs the charges open to prosecutors for road traffic offences but a consultation paper published by the CPS could pave the way for tough new reforms.

The public will be asked their views on what they believe should constitute dangerous driving and careless driving, what information victims and their families want and how cases involving a fatality involving a close family member or close friend are prosecuted.

Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald said: "I want this consultation to open up our practices and procedures and to explain how and why we make decisions."

  • You can have your say and complete the consultation by downloading it from the CPS link below or phoning Carrie on 01202 498719 for a printed copy to be sent in the post.