Surge in Lincolnshire people using phones while driving

Library picture: Doing this could cost your life or that of an innocent road user.
Library picture: Doing this could cost your life or that of an innocent road user.

Forty-four people in Lincolnshire were fined for illegally using mobile phones while driving in March, the month tough new penalties came into force.

The number was up 18 on the previous month, despite penalties doubling to a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Nationally, more than 200 drivers were caught daily in March, leading road safety chiefs to say drivers aren’t getting the message about a menace that costs lives on our roads.

Police Chief Insp Mark Garthwaite says Lincolnshire officers have caught drivers talking on phones, texting, researching the internet and using their phone’s video to talk to others while driving.

He said: “We found someone researching something on the internet while driving. What can possibly be that urgent? That’s just bizarre.

“I frequently say there’s nothing that’s so urgent on your telephone that you are prepared to risk somebody’s life. Nothing.”

Although there was an apparent surge in phone use when the new penalties came in, Chief Insp Garthwaite said: “It looks like more people flouting the law. All I can say is we are catching more.

“For a week from March 1, we were really concentrating on it and I think, from memory, 20 of the 44 were caught in that first week.

“We are still seeing far too many people on a daily basis putting other people’s lives and their own at risk.”

Lincolnshire Road Saftey Partnership spokesman John Siddle said: “The rise in prosecutions is not surprising, in fact it was expected, as police officers were tasked with specifically targeting those drivers still using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel.

“Anecdotally. we are seeing fewer people on their phones, although only time will tell whether the message has truly got home. People are already less tolerant of mobile phone use when driving – the outcry on social media when someone dies as a result of this negligent behaviour is all too evident. “Sentencing for these crimes is increasing. One driver, Thomasz Kroker was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for killing a mother and her three children whilst driving and using a mobile phone.”