Published: February 6, 2011
Police warn Burnham-On-Sea motorists of 'fatal distraction' risk

Police have this week warned motorists in the Burnham-On-Sea area about the dangers of using their mobile phones whilst driving.

The force has teamed up with RAC to emphasise that using a mobile phone whilst driving is a lethal combination - a potentially 'fatal distraction'.

It is one of the 'fatal four' major contributing factors to accidents. Tests have shown that a driver cannot help but be distracted by a phone call or text message and if you are distracted you won't register potential hazards, nor will you react as quickly. In fact, you're four times more likely to be involved in a crash if using your mobile phone.

Despite the proven dangers, new research shows more people are using mobiles when they're behind the wheel.

An RAC study found more than a third of UK motorists admitted to being distracted by calls, texts and social media applications on their mobile phones. One in five said they are likely to check social media alerts, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Those drivers caught using a mobile phone could face getting three points on their licence and a fine of £60. If the case goes to court, you could face a fine of £1,000 or £2,500 if driving a large goods vehicle, bus or coach.

In certain circumstances, or where there are aggravating factors, such as being involved in a collision, you could be prosecuted for failing to be in proper control of their vehicle, driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving. This could result in a court appearance, being disqualified from driving or even a prison sentence.

Chief Inspector Polly King, from Avon and Somerset Police's Road Policing Unit, said: "Using your mobile phone whilst driving is a proven hazard which impairs driver performance and increases the risk of collisions. Although hands-free devices are better, they can still cause the driver to be distracted by a phone call or text message so we always advise motorists to switch their mobile off or at least turn it on silent."

Adrian Tink, RAC Motoring Strategist, said: "It's extremely concerning that the drivers continue to use their mobile phones for texting and calling. It's also very worrying that people use their phone for a whole host of social media applications while driving. Taking your eye off the road, just for a second, to read an alert or check who called can potentially have fatal results."


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