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Mobile phone message still not getting through to motorists
DORSET’S traffic cops say many motorists are continuing to illegally use their hand-held mobile phones behind the wheel.
From taking calls while in the driver’s seat to texting, taking pictures and even checking emails – drivers are repeatedly putting themselves and others in danger.
Last year Dorset’s road safety No Excuse team issued 1,372 fixed penalty tickets, slightly up on the 1,300 issued in 2010. Between January and June this year 430 tickets have been handed out.
Additional tickets are also issued by patrolling police officers. Officers are concerned that some people still do not understand that it is dangerous to use all hand-held devices while driving, including mobiles, iPods and laptops.
They say officers have stopped people from all walks of life using their mobile phone while driving; including a surgeon who admitted it had been a stupid thing to do as he has to treat people who have been involved in accidents.
Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police ’s road traffic unit, said driving while using a mobile phone is a distraction and that is one of the major factors in road deaths in Dorset – known as the fatal four.
The others are excess and inappropriate speed, drink or drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt. He added: “The message is, if you are using your mobile phone while driving you will cause a collision.
“I have investigated a road death where a driver was distracted using a mobile phone and as a result an innocent person was killed.
“That driver was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.”
A recent national survey revealed that 42 per cent of the 21,000 drivers polled admitted to using hand-held mobiles while at the wheel and some 60 per cent of these said it had distracted them.
Around 20 per cent admitted using a mobile to send a text, four per cent to check emails and one per cent had tweeted while driving. Insp Butler warned motorists in Dorset: “My officers are out and about on the roads in marked and unmarked vehicles, so if you are using your mobile phone there is a very high probability that you will be detected.”