Motorists still flout phone laws

A man using his mobile phone while driving
A man using his mobile phone while driving

HUNDREDS of Wigan motorists are still putting lives at risk by texting and phoning at the wheel.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request revealed that almost 1,300 drivers in the borough have been issued with a fixed penalty notice in the last three years after being caught using their phone while in charge of their vehicle.

Traffic officers have dished out £46,140 in fines and a total of 2,310 penalty points have been distributed to people who think they can flout the law.

In a recent crackdown on bad driving in Wigan, traffic officers found no fewer than 323 motorists committing offences - including phoning while driving - in the space of one day.

It was more than a 50 per cent increase than in 2012 when only 150 drivers were caught offending in one day.

This is despite Greater Manchester Police launching a campaign in 2011 to help reduce these crimes.

Chief Insp Rachel Buckle from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, as is speeding or drink driving and in 2011 we launched a major clampdown to tackle this type of irresponsible behaviour.

“Unfortunately there are still far too many people who prioritise a text or call over the life of themselves or other road users and our officers will continue to pursue this.”

Just weeks ago, former Hawkley Hall student Danny Jones was hit with a motoring offence fine after posting “shocking” footage he filmed on his phone of himself trailing an ambulance on an emergency.

The video, which went viral, prompted online backlash for using the mobile phone while driving.

He was fined £100 and given three points on his licence.

It is against the law to text, call or use a mobile at all while behind the wheel of a vehicle, even if it is stationary.

Philip Goose, senior community engagement officer at Brake, the road safety charity, said “Using a phone, whether hand-held or hands-free dramatically increases your risk of crashing, and killing or seriously injuring someone, as it significantly slows your reaction times.

“As in the rest of the UK, there are still too many drivers in Wigan and Leigh breaking the law. Our message to drivers is simple – no call or text is worth a life, so turn off your phone and put it in the boot.”

The law states that if a seat belt is available, it must be worn. Since 2003 it has been an offence to use a hand held phone when driving.

The penalty for a mobile phone offence was increased to £100 from £60 on the August 16 last year.