DRIVERS are increasingly putting lives at risk by using a mobile while driving.
Warwickshire Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service have teamed-up to try and get the message across to drivers who still flout the law by using a hand held phone at the wheel.
Over 50 people have been injured on Warwickshire’s roads in accidents involving the use of a phone in the past three years. The figures do not account for damage-only smashes or near misses.
Studies show drivers using a mobile are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
Supt Daryn Elton of Warwickshire Police said: “Improving the safety of our roads is a year-round commitment for our officers. Although mobile phone enforcement is already part of our daily operational activity, we will be stepping up our efforts over the coming weeks to crack down on motorists who are blatantly ignoring both the law and the dangers involved.
“With smartphones becoming more and more embedded into our daily routines, we are all aware of how useful they can be. However, it is unacceptable to allow yourself to be distracted by them while driving, and officers will ensure any motorists doing so face the penalties involved.”
Despite being illegal since 2003 – currently punishable with a £100 fine and three penalty points – a recent report by the RAC found the number of drivers who illegally used mobile phones while at the wheel was rising- with as many as a third admitting do so in a recent survey.
Drivers also admitted having posted on social media while at the wheel, and taken a photograph or video while driving.
The punishment for using a mobile while driving is set to double next year – to a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Paramedics are often first on the scene of accidents cause by phone use.
West Midlands Ambulance Service Warwick area manager Martyn Scott said: “Sadly our staff are all too familiar with the consequences of people using mobile phones while driving.
“Tragically, lives have been lost through this sort of action while other people have been left with injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives.”