Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Driving on mobile excuses revealed

Motorists who are caught driving while using their mobile phone face three penalty points on their licence and a 60 pound fine

Motorists caught driving while using their mobile phones have blamed "ranting" ex-wives, over-zealous bosses and even childbirth for their offending behaviour, according to police.

One driver also admitted failing to see a red light because he was on the phone and another denied making a call saying he was only using the internet.

Surrey Police and Surrey County Council have released details of the excuses given by drivers as part of a campaign targeting the use of mobile phones while behind the wheel.

In one case, the driver stopped by police pleaded for help from the officer and said: "It was my ex-wife harassing me, can you speak to her?" Another motorist blamed work pressures when he said: "My boss called to see where I was."

A father-to-be explained: "I answered the phone because my wife is having a baby and I thought she may have gone into labour."

The lure of a smart phone proved too tempting for one motorist, who said: "I'm not on the phone, I am looking something up on the internet." While another pleaded: "I wasn't calling anyone, I was replying to an email."

Another driver admitted: "I am always using it. It's about time I got caught." And a man stopped for running a red light said: "Sorry, I didn't even see the red light, I was on my phone at the time."

Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: "It may be tempting to answer a call or check your Facebook while driving, but it is a huge distraction and the consequences can be devastating. You are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving.

"Your reaction times are 50% slower and you are more likely to drift across lanes. If you get caught, you face three penalty points on your licence and a £60 fine. Please take notice of our Drive SMART campaign and don't use a phone while driving."

Duncan Brown, head of road safety at Surrey Police, said: "Keep your head up and both eyes on the road. Texting, updating social media sites or reading emails takes the attention away from driving safely and even a momentary lapse in concentration can mean life or death for the driver or other road users."

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