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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


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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

  • 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.