In June of 2006, I blogged about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving: “Driving under the influence of a cell phone.” TechRepublic members responded with a total of 75 comments (at the time of this writing), clearly demonstrating that this is a subject that people care about – or at least aren’t shy about sharing their opinions.

A more recent news story discusses harsher penalties that will soon be enforced in the United Kingdom: “U.K. to get tougher on chatty drivers.” According to the article, “Starting February 27, motorists will face the threat of getting three points on their license as well a fine of about $118 (60 pounds).”

While monetary fines alone would be enough to steer me away from talking on my cell phone while driving, it doesn’t appear that it’s effectively deterring British drivers. “A U.K. law outlawing driving while using a handheld mobile phone took effect in December 2003, resulting in the issuing of 74,000 tickets during the first full year, but many drivers are still flouting the rules.”

Douglas Alexander, the U.K. Transport secretary, is quoted as saying, “Worryingly, while 92 percent of people agree with the law, 21 percent of drivers admit to breaking it.” 

Do you think stiffer fines are the way to go, or is there a more effective way to get people off of their mobile phones while they’re behind the wheel?