Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Crackdown on 'distracted' drivers

Some vehicles were stopped because the driver was using a mobile phone.

A crackdown on distracted drivers caught one motorist having a shave using a razor and a water bottle and a woman doing her make-up in the rear view mirror while on a motorway.

The five-day police operation across the motorways of Hampshire and the Thames Valley resulted in 198 motorists being prosecuted for driving offences - most of them driving whilst distracted.

Other offences spotted were a lorry driver brushing his teeth, two van drivers reading newspapers while they drove, one person reading a map on the steering wheel and two drivers using iPads (one on the steering wheel) as they travelled along.

During the crackdown called Operation Tramline, officers drove an unmarked Scania lorry cab and videoed the offences with the cab providing the officers with a high viewing platform.

It ran last week on the M27, M3, A34, M4 and M40 and 126 motorists were discovered using their mobile phones and 25 were people distracted by other means

A total of 25 lorry drivers were spotted using their phones with another six being distracted by other means.

Other vehicles stopped because the driver was using a mobile phone included two tractors, a taxi and 38 vans.

All drivers were issued with notices that will result in a £100 fine and three points on their licence.

Sergeant Paul Dimond said: "Many of the people stopped agreed with the police action and were very embarrassed having been caught on their phones.

"The vast majority were holding phones in their lap and accessing applications or texting with their hands held low - this can be very dangerous.

"These offences are being committed by otherwise law abiding and hardworking people. Unfortunately it is that same group of people that are being hurt as a result of the accidents.

"Distracted driving is proven to be a significant factor in many of the collisions on our roads.

"Motorways are statistically the safest roads to travel on. The vast majority of the motorists observed during the week were driving safely in compliance with the law."

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: "Regrettably, these kind of offences are not uncommon and are a real source of stress for other motorists and road users.

"The RAC's annual Report On Motoring 2013 identified that 56% of motorists have noticed a discernible slip in drivers' compliance with motoring laws.

"A surprising 13% of women drivers admit to having applied make-up or brushed their hair while driving and 4% of male drivers owned up to shaving at the wheel or tying their tie.

"Although it is against the law, over a fifth (21%) of motorists admit to having used a mobile phone at the wheel in the last year.

"For 76% of motorists, other people using a hand-held mobile phone is a source of stress but the three biggest distractions for drivers are still talking to passengers (89%), adjusting car controls (80%) and eating or drinking (49%)."

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