Driver banned for being on phone

A MOTORIST caught using a mobile phone while driving is today banned from getting behind the wheel.

A MOTORIST caught using a mobile phone while driving is today banned from getting behind the wheel.

Gillian Meadows, 54, from Rendlesham, pleaded guilty to the charge at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court after she was spotted and stopped by police in Ipswich and was disqualified from driving for six months.

Today the charity, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, warned that those who use hand-held or hands-free phones while driving are putting others' lives at risk.

A spokesman for RoSPA said: “It is unfortunate that far too many people still do not seem to get the message at how dangerous it is to drive while using a phone.

“Research has shown that whether you are using a hand-held or hands-free phone, you are four times more likely to crash. The advice is when you get into your car, switch off your phone and keep it off until you park safely.

“Some people think they will only be on the phone for a second, but it is that second that can destroy someone's lives.”

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At court on Tuesday it was heard how Meadows, of Redwald Road, was seen holding a mobile phone as she was driving along Star Lane on February 1.

Prosecuting Andrea Reynolds said: “Police saw her drive past, holding her phone and having a conversation. They followed her to Fore Street. They stopped her and she said she felt she was being victimised.”

It was heard that Meadows could not be given a fixed penalty notice as she already had eight points on her licence.

Mitigating for herself, Meadows, told the court that she needed her car for her role as a part-time hairdresser. She also said how she was trying to get a job in the care sector, which may require a car.

She said: “I had the phone in my hand but I was not speaking.

“I prefer to drive a car than go by bus.”

Magistrates refused her plea to keep her licence and banned her from driving. On top of a £50 fine, she was also ordered to pay £45 in costs and £15 victim surcharge.

The Evening Star's campaign Light Up, Belt Up, Shut Up urges drivers to use their headlights in poor weather conditions, wear seatbelts and not use a hand-held mobile phone.

Have you been involved in an accident as a result of someone driving while on their phone? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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