Phone driver menace

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WIGAN motorists have been issued a fresh warning about the dangers of using a mobile while driving, amid an initiative to cut crashes.

Authorities across Greater Manchester have launched a campaign to slash incidents caused by distractions such as mobile phones, which the borough’s Road Policing Unit inspector, Phil Bromley, says is seen all too often.

He said: “Unfortunately this is a very common offence across the borough and people using their phones while driving is something we see on a daily basis.

“A lot of the time driving seems to be the last thing on people’s minds when they are in a car. They are using their phones, they are involved in a deep conversation and they are just not concentrating.

“But these offences are being taken extremely seriously across the borough and the basic penalty is a £60 fixed fine and three points on your licence and this can go up to a fine of hundreds of pounds.”

Statistics have shown that drivers who use a mobile while driving are four times more likely to crash and their reaction times are around 50 per cent slower than usual.

Insp Bromley has worked as a traffic officer for 20 years and says that despite being made an offence people still knowingly and regularly flout the law.

He said: “The non-compliance to this law is still very high in the borough, which is concerning.

“In my experience, people do fully understand the consequences of using their mobile when driving but they still just chance their arm, and we often find that when people see a police patrol they will throw their phone on to the seat next to them or into the footwell because they know they shouldn’t be using it.”

He added: “One thing that the public needs to be aware of is that if they are involved in a serious or fatal collision their mobile will be seized as a matter of course.

“If an investigation then finds that the phone was being used at the time it will result in a charge of causing death by dangerous driving which, if convicted, can hold a prison sentence of eight years.

“That’s the reality with any collision of this nature and what people have got to remember is that the incident doesn’t have to be their fault, it could be a child or a dog that runs into the road but if they are found to have been using a phone the focus then comes to them.”

Insp Bromley said using a phone while driving can be more dangerous than drink-driving.