Sat navs have undoubtedly made the world of driving a whole lot easier. No longer do you have you wrestle with a map to work out how to get from A to B - simply plug in your co-ordinates and off you go. However, drivers are fearing that new laws may be introduced that will ban mobile phones being used as sat navs.
In March of this year, laws were introduced to stop people using mobile phones or tablets while driving, with a penalty of a £200 ($256) fine and six points on their licence for those caught doing so. Offenders who have held their licence for less than two years could be disqualified from driving altogether.
Credit: Flickr/James Cridland (Creative Commons)
Although it is currently legal to run a navigation app while driving, motorists could face prosecution if they touch their device while behind the wheel. A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: "If an officer determines that a driver using their sat nav hindered their ability to control the car, the driver could face prosecution."
The penalty for using a traditional or built-in sat nav while driving is much less, despite the fact that an April report published by comparison website uSwitch found Britain's drivers had become 'sat nav junkies'.
The report detailed how the use of sat navs had actually been causing motorists to drive more dangerously. According to the study, one in 20 drivers gets a speeding fine due to their 'addiction' to using sat navs which can show the wrong speed limits.
Data published by British roadside assistance and vehicle recovery provider Green Flag revealed the number of speeding offences in the UK has risen by 44 per cent over the last five years. Drivers can now be fined up to 175 percent of their weekly income if caught speeding, though a cap of £2,500 ($3,200) remains in place for now.
According to the Government, the idea behind the new measures that have been introduced is to make people 'think twice' about their behavior on the road. That extends to the way people use new technology like sat navs so that people don't forget they're actually driving while using them.
A spokesman for the RAC said: "While a quick interaction with an inbuilt or independent sat nav (ie not on a mobile phone) should be acceptable, if a police officer deems you are not in proper control of a vehicle, you may still be liable for prosecution."
Featured Image Credit: Flickr/James Cridland (Creative Commons)