Scots Police slam mobile phone drivers with £1.2m fines during 2009


By Oliver Farrimond

CHATTY drivers in Scotland have had to pay up almost £1.2 million this year for using their mobiles while driving.

Scotland’s police forces issued nearly 20,000 statutory notices to careless road users, worth £60 each.

The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show that police in Strathclyde issued by far the most – including two to their own officers.

However Andrew Howard, head of road safety at AA, said that more should be done to catch careless drivers.

He said: “When you consider that there are millions of drivers in Scotland, and millions of mobile phone users, it’s clear that these fines represent only a fraction of those actually committing the offence.

“Using your phone whilst driving is more than just a distraction – you can lose your peripheral vision, and drivers prosecuted following fatal accidents for mobile phone use can end up in jail.

“And it’s not a distraction when drivers consciously make a decision to make a call whilst driving.

“The difficulty with the mobile phone law is that a lot of people just aren’t aware how dangerous and careless it really is.

“The police could do more to raise awareness in the same way they do for drink-driving.”

Dumfries and Galloway issued the fewest tickets – just 399 – and Fife, Grampian and Northern police forces handed out roughly 2,000 between them.

Tayside Police issued 823 tickets totalling £49,380 in fines – but revealed that so far only around £35,000 had been collected.

Lothian and Borders and Strathclyde police forces issued by far the most fixed penalty notices since 1 January 2009 – 15,654 tickets between them totalling £939,240 between them.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “Lothian and Borders Police is committed to ensuring our roads remain safe and treat all motoring offences extremely seriously.

“The use of a mobile phone distracts drivers from the road, reducing concentration and increasing the chances of being involved in a collision.

“Anyone found using a phone while driving will receive three points on their licence and a fine for £60 under legislation introduced in 2007.”

Chief Inspector Stewart Carle, Strathclyde Road Policing Unit, added: “I cannot emphasise enough the grave risk people are putting themselves, and other road users in by using a mobile phone when driving.

“It’s so important that people concentrate on their driving rather than talking on their mobile phone, a distraction which can impair driving ability in a similar way as alcohol does.

“Our advice is simple: Don’t take the call or read that text message – it may be your last.”

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  1. Rather than a 3 point penalty and a £60 fine, an automatic 3 month ban would be a much greater deterrent to wayward drivers.

    What did we all do before the mobile ‘phone became commonplace?

    The confiscation of the phone would also provide drivers with second thoughts about using them whilst on the move.

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