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article imageOp-Ed: Police crack down on drivers using mobile phones at the wheel

By Alexander Baron     Oct 5, 2011 in Crime
It is generally acknowledged that motorists are an easy target for over-officious police officers; it is less widely acknowledged that some easy targets deserve to get hit.
Crime is something that affects us all; when we talk about crime, most of us think about theft, violence, having our property violated, and occasionally worse. We all teach our kids not to steal, but while shoplifting, pilfering, and even vandalising the odd bus shelter may be anti-social, they don't risk life and limb, either ours or other people's.
Although there are something like 8 million people in Britain who have some sort of criminal record, the crimes most otherwise law-abiding people commit more than any other are related to motoring: driving without a licence or while disqualified are extremely serious offences; driving under the influence of drink or drugs even more so; driving while using a hand held mobile phone is absolutely inexcusable.
Yesterday, reports from Lancashire saw 33 year old Abbas Patel fined £150 and given three penalty points on his license, and Tariq Choudrey convicted of the same offence in his absence.
Andrew Paul Fragle of Leyland received a surprisingly light fine of £90 inclusive of court charges for driving while unfit through drugs, but his real punishment was to be banned for 3 years.
It would be impossible to read out all the names of those fined for using a mobile phone behind the wheel down the road in Northamptonshire because over the past nine months, police have targeted drivers for this offence, with shocking results. Over a thousand have been fined in that period, and several deaths are believed to have resulted from those who were unlucky enough to escape.
Last year, they caught 1,841 drivers who each received a £60 fine and three penalty points. Clearly, this fine is nothing like heavy enough.
Although it is a few years old, The Risk Of Using A Mobile Phone While Driving makes interesting reading. Available free from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, it contains historical and international data as well as in situ reports and recommendations.
It remains to be seen if this and similar reports will be of any use whatsoever; it is a sad fact that on certain subjects the public is largely ineducable, and the only things they understand are extremely Draconian punishments.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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