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Gloucestershire Business News

Lost in your car? Don't use your phone to find the way

Latest figures suggest that in spite of tougher penalties being introduced over a year ago, a high proportion of motorists still use their mobile phones when driving.

In a recent survey for an insurance company, 16 per cent of the 2000 who responded confessed to using their mobile phone while driving.

Of those, 46 per cent said it was for navigation purposes; 30 per cent said they answered calls and texts and 24 per cent said they listened to music.

According to the survey, 30 per cent of 17-24-year olds are the age group most likely to hold their phone when driving; only 4 per cent of drivers over 55 did so making them the least likely.

Sixty-six per cent were unaware the offence attracted a £200 fine and 6 points on your licence even though the punishment was increased in March 2018.

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), who previously called for offenders to have their phones confiscated - and in the most persistent cases crushed - believes that stricter enforcement is the only way to make them stop.

PCC Martin Surl said: "There is clearly a significant hard core of people who only think about themselves when they get behind the wheel and ignore the threat they pose to others.

"I would rather motorists corrected bad habits through education or persuasion; but those who refuse to heed the warning that using a mobile phone when driving is both dangerous and anti-social should face the full force of the law".

As part of a campaign over the next two weeks, Gloucestershire Police will carry out roadside operations around the county.

The Constabulary's long-range camera enforcement unit will also be used at different locations. It is part of a co-ordinated approach involving the police, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Jo Arnold, The Police and Crime Plan's safe and social driving co-ordinator said: "The Special Constabulary will be running several operations in different parts of the county in the next week during which officers will be stopping anyone for using a mobile phone while driving and roads officers will also be on the lookout for offences throughout the fortnight."

Gloucestershire County Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for public protection, said: "Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is often called to assist with serious collisions on the road, and unfortunately sometimes these are caused by drivers who are distracted by mobile phones.

"Serious injury or fatality are very real consequences of using your mobile phone while driving. Please consider the impact taking your attention away from the road for a few seconds could have on yourself and the people around you."

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