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Hampshire Constabulary is reminding motorists about the laws on mobile phone use while driving.
It is illegal to use a handheld mobile device while driving on the road. If caught, drivers face a fine, their insurance costs could go up and they could lose their licence.
Research shows you are four times more likely to crash if using a mobile phone while driving and your reaction times are around 50 per cent slower.
Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text and a split second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
Officers from the Roads Policing unit are on patrol year-round to enforce the laws. Between January and December 2011, 5,802 people were caught using a handheld device while driving in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Inspector Jon Snook said: “Using a mobile phone while driving, even only for a second, is not only illegal, but puts you and others at an unacceptable risk.
“We’re on patrol to deter drivers from taking those risks and catch anyone who chooses to flout the law.
“Although it’s not illegal to use hands-free phones, you’ll face the same penalties as using a phone if we think you’re not in proper control of your vehicle.
“Education’s just as important as enforcement in preventing offences and saving lives. That’s why if you’re caught using a mobile at the wheel, you’ll get you may get the option of attending one of our driver awareness courses.”
Of those caught using a mobile phone while driving in 2011, 66 per cent attended a Driver Diversion Course, 21 per cent opted to pay a fixed penalty of £60 and take three points on their licence and nine per cent chose to go to court.
Advice on staying safe on the road:
· The safest way is to turn your mobile off while driving
· If your phone is on, don’t make or answer calls when you’re driving
· It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving on the road, even if you’ve stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam or are in a car park
· Park safely before using your mobile phone
· Don’t call other people when they’re driving