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Warning over ‘rubbernecking’ after drivers caught filming A14 crash scene

PUBLISHED: 13:39 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:44 15 October 2020

Police have issued a warning over 'rubbernecking' Stock picture: Archant

Police have issued a warning over 'rubbernecking' Stock picture: Archant

Archant

Drivers are being warned of the consequences of filming crash scenes after seven motorists were caught following a serious collision on the A14.

Suffolk police said following the crash on the A14 in August – which resulted in the closure of one of the carriageways for several hours – seven motorists, including four HGV drivers, were caught filming the scene while travelling on the opposite carriageway.

Their details were recorded by officers at the scene, and all were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) for driving without due care and attention.

Drivers can be prosecuted if caught offending and the law still applies if motorists are stopped at traffic lights, queuing traffic or supervising a learner driver.

The basic penalty for driving while using a mobile phone is a £200 fine and six points, but anyone who has passed their test in the last two years would lose their licence if caught.

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Sergeant Barry Abbott, of the serious collision investigation unit (SCIU), urged drivers to think of the individuals involved in the crash before pulling out their mobile phones.

“I know we live in a world where some people want to film everything and post it on social media, but drivers should take a moment to think about the individuals involved in that collision, along with their family and friends,” he said.

“Ultimately though, they are committing an offence and if caught will be prosecuted, as this recent example shows. It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in slow-moving or stationary traffic, it is still illegal to use your phone while behind the wheel - or handlebars if using a motorcycle.

“It is an extremely dangerous act that often results in other collisions. If you speak to anyone who has attended the scene of a serious collision – which is something my colleagues and I have had to do on too many occasions – then they will tell you that they are usually a distressing place to be and certainly not something that should be filmed by members of the public.”

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said: “I absolutely urge all drivers to pay heed to this important message. Using your phone behind the wheel is illegal and using it to film a collision scene is not only highly dangerous, but massively insensitive.

“I am very pleased to see the constabulary stamping down on this completely irresponsible behaviour and hope it serves as a reminder to all drivers to keep their phones out of reach when they are behind the wheel.”


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