Drivers still flouting mobile phone laws
THOUSANDS of Suffolk drivers are still flouting the law today as the number of motorists caught using mobile phones continues to rocket.More than 2,700 people have been issued with fines by police in the first 11 months of this year despite stronger penalties being imposed.
THOUSANDS of Suffolk drivers are still flouting the law today as the number of motorists caught using mobile phones continues to rocket.
More than 2,700 people have been issued with fines by police in the first 11 months of this year despite stronger penalties being imposed.
Since March 1 fixed penalty fines have doubled to £60 and three points have been put on drivers' licences. However, in the nine months that followed 2,183 motorists were caught on their mobiles while behind the wheel.
Over the past four years the number fined in Suffolk has nearly trebled and is likely to have increased by nearly 15 per cent at the end of 2007 compared with 2006.
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The potentially tragic dangers were illustrated in June this year when lorry driver Adrian Burrows, of Glebe Close, Baylham, was jailed for three years for killing fellow driver, Brian Mills, of Diss.
On July 28, 2006, Burrows looked down to see who had sent a text message, not realising the traffic in front had slowed on the A14 on the outskirts of Ipswich near Whitehouse.
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At his trial, Ipswich Crown Court heard the 41-year-old smashed into Mr Mills' VW, which then hit two Ford Transits. Mr Mills' car ignited into a fireball after it ended up trapped beneath Burrows' lorry.
Chief inspector Martin Barnes-Smith, head of Suffolk police's traffic unit, today said: “That case highlights that you only have to take your mind off the road for a short while and you could potentially end up killing somebody.
“I can't believe that with all the messages going out that people don't realise how stupid it is. People know it is wrong, but why do they still do it?
“You could take your mind off what you are doing and potentially still be travelling at 70mph. Would you drive down the A14 at 70mph with your eyes closed?
Roger Vincent, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), today welcomed the enforcement work by the police.
He said: “We believe the use of mobile phones is a serious danger on our roads - and it doesn't bear thinking about how many lives would have been lost without these laws.
“We are pleased at the strong enforcement by police and hope this will deter people from using phones and putting themselves and others at risk.”
N What do you think of people who use mobile phones while driving? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile phone fixed penalty notices for Suffolk
978 issued in 2004
1,707 issued in 2005
2,543 issued in 2006
2,719 issued up until November 30, 2007
Sources: Home Office and Suffolk Constabulary