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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 165

Date:- 28 August 2004

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MILLIONS STILL FLOUTING MOBILE PHONE LAWS, SAYS RAC LEGAL SERVICES

OVER one third of UK drivers, that's up to 10 million motorists are still using hand-held mobile phones while driving, despite it now being illegal.

The shocking statistic comes from research into driver behaviour by RAC Legal Services, which revealed 37 percent of motorists continue to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, even in the face of fixed penalties and tough crackdowns by police forces across the country.

In addition, even though 92 percent of drivers say they are responsible, law-abiding motorists, as many as one in ten (10%) admit to texting on their phone while driving on British roads. The results support prior RAC research, which showed 89 percent of drivers think the hand-held mobile phone law is not changing driver behaviour.

Since December 2003, using a hand-held mobile phone has attracted a fixed penalty of £30, rising to £1000 on conviction in court. Police can also charge those involved in an accident while using a mobile phone with 'careless driving' or 'dangerous driving', ultimately leading to a driving ban and fine decided by a court.

The RAC Legal Services study also found as many as one in four people (24%) admitted to driving whilst tired, during the last 6 months, and a further three percent owned up to drink driving.

Mark Hodges, spokesperson for RAC Legal Services said:- "This is something we suspected was happening, but our research proves the shocking number of drivers flouting the law. Drivers using a hand-held mobile phone pose a major threat to the safety of all road users and the law seems to have had little effect on their attitudes.

Even though people continue to take huge risks, they should be aware the law is now clear and no motorist should be using ignorance as a defence,"


RAC Legal Services questioned more than 2000 British motorists on their driving behaviour over the last six months. Other bad driving habits admitted were:-

DRIVING WHEN TIRED... 24 percent of Britons admit to having driven suffering from fatigue. According to the Department for Transport, one in five accidents on motorways and other monotonous roads is caused by someone falling asleep at the wheel. Women appear to be most at risk, with 25 percent claiming to have driven when tired.

DRINK DRIVING... Four percent of men surveyed said they had driven whilst over the legal limit for alcohol, compared with just two percent of women. On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions and 15 percent of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal limit.

Tragic Accident at Pleasureland.

A MAINTENANCE worker from Pleasureland died as he worked on the Skyride this week. A full investigation is now underway to discover how it happened. All of us at Southport Reporter offer our deepest condolences to his family and also to his colleagues at Pleasureland. 

FIRST NORTH WESTERN MAKES THE FINAL

"FORGET the Olympics" says Regional Train Operator First North Western in a press release sent to us this week. They are now well on track for its own set of medals. The company has been shortlisted as a finalist for two sets of prestigious awards. 

FNW train driver Derek King, and conductor Jason Yewdall, are finalists in the Outstanding Personal Contribution category of The National Rail Awards 2004 for their heroic actions in saving the life of a woman in May last year. FNW has also been shortlisted in the Rail Operator of the Year category at the same awards, one of the railway industry’s most prestigious accolades. 

FNW’s alternative transport plans during the West Coast Route mainline works are also set to be recognised. The company has been shortlisted in the Transport Policy and Planning category of the Institute of Logistics and Transport Excellence Awards 2004. 

Managing Director Richard Peck says:- “We are delighted to have reached the final stages of not one, but two sets of industry awards. It is a pleasure to know that the hard work and efforts of our staff are being recognised, especially when frontline staff like Derek and Jason have gone above and beyond the call of duty.” 

The winners of the awards will be announced at gala dinners in September and October. 

All of us at PCBT Photography wish them the best of luck.

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