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Devastated families join police campaign to cut driver distractions

Thames Valley Police launch week of action against drivers using mobile phones

Sarah Bosley

sarah.bosley@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886655

Warning: Some people may find some of the images in the video distressing

FAMILIES have been talking about the devastating impact caused by people using their mobile phones behind the wheel, as police launch a week of action against distracted drivers.

The heartbreaking interviews are part of a week-long campaign by Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary’s Joint Roads Policing Unit that has seen them targeting drivers using their phones.

Road Safety Sergeant Chris Appleby said: “We are still seeing too many people deciding to take that risk to use their mobile phone whilst driving, whether looking at a text, making and receiving calls or even surfing the internet.

“Doing any of these will clearly impair and distract your ability to drive a vehicle safely.

“Research has shown that talking on a mobile phone can impair your ability to drive more than if you were driving whilst over the drink drive limit. You are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision texting as drink driving.”

Ion Calin and his friend and work colleague Marian Olteanu were killed instantly when a lorry ploughed into their stationary car in December 2015. The lorry driver had been using his mobile phone.

Their families have bravely shared their story to help raise awareness of the lethal consequences of driving while using a mobile phone and made an emotional plea for people to stop.

West Berkshire has witnessed the devastating consequences of a driver being distracted by a mobile phone on more than one occasion. In August 2016, Tracy Houghton, 45, from Dunstable, her two sons, Ethan, 13, and Joshua, 11, and her partner's daughter Aimee Goldsmith, 11, were all killed when a lorry ploughed into their car on the A34 between Chieveley and West Ilsley.

The driver, Tomasz Kroker, was using his mobile phone at the time of the crash and was later jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Appleby added: “I am urging all motorists to not take that risk, a moments inattention can be the difference between life and death. We have all seen the devastation caused by those who take the risks. Please think twice before answering a call, looking at a text or browsing your phone, let’s have no more innocent people lose their life.”

Since March 2017 drivers caught using a phone behind the wheel will receive six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine.

 

The facts

  • You’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving
  • You are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision texting as you are drink driving
  • Reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50% slower than normal driving
  • It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices, even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic
  • It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider

 

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Article comments

  • suey hayes

    24/01/2018 - 17:05

    i think its also very dangerous for people to wear earphones when driving. people cannot hear anything but music so are less aware of any dangers or sirens. phones shouldn't even be anywhere near you when driving..

    Reply

  • NoisyNortherner

    24/01/2018 - 10:10

    It's all well and good having these focus weeks, but without adequate numbers of traffic units to enforce any penalties, then it's not going to accomplish much. The reason people feel able to get away with using their mobiles while driving is that the sight of a traffic unit not responding to an emergency is exceptionally rare.

    Reply

  • Justin S

    24/01/2018 - 08:08

    Sadly, people who use their phones while driving or any other object, such as Ipods etc are selfish and stupid. They have no interest in others around them. Only themselves . There is no excuse.

    Reply

  • bahumbug

    23/01/2018 - 17:05

    There should be a law that says if drivers are caught using a phone whilst driving, apart from a seriously hefty fine when stopped by police. the drivers Sim card should immediately be destroyed. that would cause them even more pain than the fine. then they can't say they were not warned. but that's never going to happen because of the stupid human rights/mamby pamby magistrates era we are now unfortunate enough to be living in......NO, ALL THEY WILL GET IS A SLAP ON THE WRIST, AND A PEP TALK MY SOME NICE POLICE PERSON..............then they will go on using their phone again whilst driving........AND WILL PROBABLY END UP KILLING SOMEONE.

    Reply