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Four a day fined for driving on phone in North Yorkshire
THOUSANDS of drivers in North Yorkshire are putting lives at risk by using their phones while driving or not using a seatbelt, new figures show.
Last year, an average of four drivers a day were fined for using a mobile phone at the wheel in North Yorkshire, while nearly three a day were fined for not using a seatbelt, according to new statistics obtained by our sister paper The Press.
Road safety campaigners and police have condemned motorists flouting the law, accusing them of putting their own and others’ lives at risk. Insp Victoria Taylor, of North Yorkshire Police’s RoadsPolicing Group, said: “It is beyond belief that people still put their lives and the lives of others at risk by using a mobile phone while they drive or, unbelievably, by not wearing a seatbelt.
“Despite the warnings and high-profile campaigns about the potential dangers, people still show shocking disregard for road safety.
“Those who have been fined should consider themselves the lucky ones as they have returned home safely; others, sadly, do not. As long as people continue to flout the law, rest assured we will continue to enforce it.”
Ben Schofield, a spokesman for The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said: “We think these figures reflect the amount of effort police have been putting into seatbelt and mobile phone use. The seatbelt has been around for 30 years and there has been legislation on phones for years – people should be getting the message and should expect to get caught.
“They are endangering their lives, those of their passengers and those of people on the roads.”
Last year, North Yorkshire Police fined 1,439 motorists for driving while using phones and 903 for not wearing a seatbelt. In total, they issued 12,247 fixed-penalty notices to motorists, totalling £745,700 in fines paid to the Government.
The figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that two people received notices for driving the wrong way on a motorway, one for driving on the hard shoulder and another for reversing on a motorway and 17 for driving the wrong way down a one way street.
A further 1,383 drivers were fined for exceeding the 70mph limit on motorways and dual carriageways, 1,151 for speeding in 30mph zones and 2,063 for driving without an MOT certificate.
Five drivers were fined for driving with a baby under three not wearing a rear seatbelt, 551 for not having insurance and 1,163 for not waiting.
Seven people were stopped for wilful obstruction and 68 cyclists stopped for riding on a footpath.
An IAM spokesman said each year not wearing a seatbelt was a contributory factor in more than 220 deaths and serious injuries nationally.
The organisation said it had also found using smartphones behind the wheel was more dangerous than drink-driving.
Perils posed by using phones in cars
• In January motorist Susan Noble, 29, from Armthorpe near Doncaster, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on the A19 near Northallerton. She was exchanging text messages with a friend in December 2011 when she hit Alexandru Braninski, 25, a Romanian national whose punctured tyre was being repaired.
• Last September lorry driver Martin Griffiths of Newark in Lincolnshire was given a three-year driving ban after being convicted of dangerous driving. He had been texting and browsing the internet on his phone shortly before his HGV hit a car on the hard shoulder of the A1 near Wetherby. The driver had to hurdle the crash barrier to avoid being hit.