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18 November 2013, 00:00
More than 17,000 drivers across the North East have points on their license for mobile phones and distractions.
A campaign launched today by the charity Brake at the start of Road Safety Week is calling on drivers in our region to prevent appalling crashes caused by multitasking at the wheel.
The campaign appeals to drivers to turn off their phones or put them in the boot, and urges everyone to refuse to speak on the phone to someone who's driving.
It's being launched almost a decade after hand-held mobiles at the wheel were banned and coincides with a week-long enforcement campaign.
· One in 16 (6.2%) of the 20,000 drivers in our region with points on their licence for using a phone at the wheel have six points or more for driving distracted and four in five (81%) are male
· Half of school children from the North East (53%) report being driven by a driver talking on a phone
· Three in four (76%) have spotted drivers on mobile phones outside their school or home - suggesting most children are being endangered for the sake of a call or text
New research by distraction expert Dr Amy Guo at Newcastle University highlights the increased risk of turning your car into an extension of the office.
It shows the harder you have to concentrate on a task, such as dealing with work-related calls, the slower your reactions.
This demonstrates why talking on hands-free is just as risky as hand-held, because it's concentrating on the conversation that's the main distraction.
Newcastle has the highest number of people with points on their license caused by distractions, at nearly 6,000.
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