Results of road check held in Reading

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Results of road check held in Reading

Posted: 06/03/2007 21:56:24

More than 20 drivers were stopped this morning during a road check held one week after new penalties were introduced for drivers who are caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

The check was run by police officers and road safety officers from Wokingham District Council and Reading Borough Council.

Of the 23 drivers stopped this morning, three drivers were stopped for driving while using a hand-held mobile phone, 17 were stopped for not wearing a seatbelt, one was stopped for drink driving, one driver was stopped for not having a vehicle excise licence and one was stopped for not having insurance – this vehicle was seized.

Malcolm Collis, Manager of the Specialist Units, Roads Policing, said: “At the moment drivers are complying with the new legislation which is good news. All drivers who have been caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will be offered the opportunity to attend a ‘Call Divert’ workshop instead of receiving three points on their licence and a fine. Feedback from drivers so far shows a high take-up rate for the education option.”

The penalty for being caught driving or supervising a learner while using a hand-held mobile phone or failing to have proper control of a vehicle has increased from a £30 fine, to an endorsable offence, carrying three penalty points and a fine of £60. Any cases that reach court could also lead to the driver being disqualified and receiving a fine of up to £1,000 for car drivers and £2,500 for bus, coach or goods vehicle drivers. People who cause or allow the driver to commit this offence, including employers, could face the same penalties. Company officials also face imprisonment if an employee is driving a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile phone and is involved in a fatal collision.

The new penalties extend to not having proper control of a vehicle, an offence that could also apply to the driver being distracted by using a hands-free mobile phone kit.

Motorists caught using hand-held mobile phones while driving in the Thames Valley will be given the option of attending a ‘Call Divert’ workshop instead of getting a fine and points on their licence. The workshop’s aim is to educate drivers about the real dangers of making a mobile phone call when driving and raise awareness among drivers that this is not only illegal, but is a significant cause of accidents.

The new workshop will focus on the effects of holding a mobile phone when driving. It will also emphasise how in-car distractions can lead to potentially fatal consequences for the driver and their passengers, as well as other road users.

The interactive workshop will cost £74 including VAT to attend and will last two and a half hours. It will focus on providing relevant statistics, clarify the law on the use of mobile phones and provide practical in-class role-play to demonstrate the importance of focused concentration while driving. In addition, the group will discuss the circumstances and consequences of a real life collision where mobile phone use was a major contributing factor.

The new scheme will complement the current Thames Valley Police diversionary schemes including the Driver Improvement, Rider Improvement, Speed Awareness and Seatbelt Awareness workshops, managed by DriveTech (UK).


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