Coppers nab more mobe-yapping drivers
HELLO? YES, I'M IN A TWISTED METAL CARCASS!
The number of people charged for driving while talking on the mobile has been climbing steadily for the last few years. The majority were Londoners, who are also the most adept in getting away with it.
The figures come from a commons answer in response to a question from Bury MP David Ruffley asking how many drivers were stopped, charged, convicted, fined and cautioned. The first two of those aren't recorded nationally, and neither are fixed-penalty notices which make up the majority of cases, but the remaining figures have been made available for the years 2003-2006.
Only one person was fined for using a mobile phone in 2003, but come 2004 789 people were up in court charged with "use of hand-held mobile phone while driving". 641 were found guilty and 596 got fined for it. Those figures have been climbing steadily since, with 2005 seeing 2,090 appearances, and 2,682 putting their case in 2006. These figures are all from England and Wales - Scottish figures are separate and not recorded here.
The number of people found guilty has also been climbing, as police and prosecutors work out which cases they are likely to win and how to present them, though there's still room for improvement in some areas.
In 2004 the Metropolitan Police took 203 drivers to court, but only 124 were found guilty - that's only 61 per cent. Manchester, with the next-highest figures, hauled 73 miscreants in front of the beak and got a guilty rate of 89 per cent, with 64 of those 65 being fined.
Come 2005 the Met were sharpening their game: upping their ratio to almost 83 per cent of the 658 they took to court, with 545 being found guilty, but still couldn't match Manchester's rate of 88 per cent of 154 court appearances being found guilty.
But the trend is definitely in London's favour - in 2006 the Met managed to up their rate to 85.8 per cent, compared to Manchester's 86 per cent, with the forces collaring 588 and 183 miscreants respectively.
Getting guilty verdicts is all very well, but the astute reader will have noticed an upward trend in court appearances. With more people getting pulled each year it's hard to imagine this is leading to a decline in drivers yapping on hand-held devices while in motion. It could be down to more effective policing, or perhaps better reporting, but it could equally be more people believing their call is important enough to risk their life over.
Unless they live in Kent - where no one has apparently ever used a mobile phone handset whilst driving, or at least got caught doing it. Northamptonshire has an almost equally good record, excepting a burst of activity in 2004 when 8 people made it to court - obviously an over-eager officer who has since been suitably retrained. ®
Not Good to Hold Anything while Driving/Stereos More Distracting than Mobiles.
(Steering wheel and gear lever exempted, obviously)
I can't believe how many people insist that it is just as dangerous to drive while holding a phone as on a hands-free.
Regardless of how distracted you are by the conversation, not being able to steer, check mirrors or change gear as well MUST make holding the phone a bigger culprit than holding the conversation. Same with the dozy woman eating a salad with a metal fork while driving parallel to me yesterday!
According to a recent BBC article:
""A survey by motoring group RAC shows almost half of drivers are seriously distracted by in-car technology - rising to 55% for 17-to-24-year-olds. The most distracting gadgets were radios and CDs, followed by mobile phones and satnav systems which each put off around a third of drivers. Heating and air conditioning controls distracted 35% in the survey of 1,034 motorists.
For those who dont see the simple logic in shutting down the phone after 12kph (8mph)
there could be easy exceptions for emergency numbers (in the states 911 - no clue what it is over there).
again - as I said earlier -
@ almost everyone
Errr... I think y'all got the wrong site. Why not nip over to hys and spEak You're Branes?
Mobe in car bad, yes. But keep it in perspective will you? The rant above is worse than the daily mail.