Thousands of drivers in Gwent caught using phone at the wheel

7:43am Tuesday 26th November 2013

MORE than 5,000 people in Gwent currently have licence points for driving with a mobile phone, figures have revealed.

Road safety charity Brake released the information which shows that 5,048 people in the NP postcode area currently have points on their licence for driving while using a mobile phone.

In total 3,845 of these drivers are men while 1,197 are women. The gender of the other six drivers has not been given.

In total, 36,933 drivers across Wales have points on their licence for the offence.

Now Brake is calling on drivers to turn off their mobile phones or put them in the boot while driving and is urging people to refuse to speak on the phone to someone they know is driving.

The campaign comes almost a decade after hand-held mobile phones at the wheel were banned.

Campaign officer for Brake, Laura Woods said: “Many people who wouldn’t dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific.”

Drivers caught using a hand-held phone at the wheel to call or text face a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points, or may be offered a course instead of taking points.

In some cases drivers may go to court and face disqualification and a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers who cause a crash while using a phone which causes a death could face up to 14 years in prison.

Gwent police inspector Lee Ford said: “While we and other forces run regular campaigns to target and reduce the number of drivers who risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal collision due to mobile phone use, we are consistently vigilant of this behaviour. While it is disappointing that people are still using their phones, these figures also show that people are being caught.

“Along with drink driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving carelessly; using a mobile phone behind the wheel, whether it be texting, using an app, or making a phone call, is classed as one of the “fatal five” – the five most common causes of fatal road traffic collisions. Even the most experienced of drivers can be distracted. All it takes is a slight lapse in concentration to result in serious consequences”

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