Motorists warned: Just one mobile phone call can kill
By Grimsby Telegraph | Monday, July 02, 2012, 08:24
Humberside Police are warning drivers that just one mobile phone call at the wheel could be fatal.
Don't risk lives: PC Barry Gardner, of Humberside Police, talks to a car driver caught using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Crash victim Michael Buston
Road safety chiefs say drivers who flout the law are making "a contract with death" if they continue the bad and dangerous habit.
In a month-long clampdown by traffic officers, 73 drivers in North East Lincolnshire were fined.
According to data from Humberside Police, 2,717 drivers were caught using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle in 2010 and this increased to 2,958 drivers in 2011 – a rise of nine per cent.
It was made illegal to have a phone in your hand while driving in December 2003, after a series of fatal crashes in the UK.
Committing the offence leads to a £60 fixed fine and three points endorsed on the offender's driving licence.
The driver may alternatively be given the option of attending an educational driving course.
Using mobiles is ranked by police alongside drink-driving, dangerous or careless driving, excess speed and not wearing a seatbelt as one of the biggest contributory factors in crashes.
Cleethorpes doorman Michael Buston, 36, was killed when a driver using a mobile phone crashed into his truck on the A631, near Gainsborough, in March 2007.
His widow Joanne, 42, said it makes her feel sick every time she sees a motorist using a mobile phone.
She said: "I see it on a daily basis. They should ignore any calls and wait until they can pull over and stop.
"They do not realise just how devastating it can be. Just one phone call can change the lives of so many people. Words fail me when I see people still using them.
"You can't give 100 per cent concentration to the road if you are on the phone and can lead to damaging consequences."
Casualty reduction officer Pc Barry Gardner said: "Once again these figures make good and bad reading for me.
"They are good in so far that my colleagues have detected as many offending drivers.
"These drivers will nearly all be given the option to attend a driving offenders course that is designed to educate drivers into not offending again.
"It is also bad in so far that there are so many drivers out there flouting the law that was put into place to help protect us all."
He said using a phone at the wheel is "entirely selfish behaviour".
"It is similar to all the other core offences we prosecute for, all the offenders must think that either they are above the law and that nothing will ever happen to them, or they think they will not get caught," he said.
"These figures show that the latter is not the case and that if a driver continues to break the law, sooner or later they will have to put up with the consequences, either that or suffer the misery of being involved in a road collision.
"In the 18 years I have been in the traffic section, I have attended numerous serious and fatal crashes, all very sad and tragic.
"The majority have been entirely avoidable and have had one of the core offences directly or indirectly responsible.
"I would therefore encourage everyone to refrain from using the mobile phone whilst driving and give us all a better chance of staying safe."