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Shropshire Star comment: No excuse for using a mobile at the wheel

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Our roads will be abnormally busy over the next week as people make the most of the Easter holidays. Many will be travelling with mobile telephones and sadly a significant minority will use them as they drive.

Some think using a mobile is a harmless enough thing to do. They are wrong. The statistics show how dangerous it can be to momentarily switch off and concentrate on something other than the road ahead.

Four people have died and 15 have suffered serious injuries as a result of mobile phone in this region since 2016, while there have been 54 cases where the use of a mobile phone has led to slight injuries. The figures are far too high.

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What is required is a sea change in attitudes as people wise up to the realities of modern motoring and take responsibility for the vehicles they drive. In the wrong hands, vehicles are weapons that can cause chaos and destruction. And people who use mobile phones are more likely to be involved in an accident.

If we recall other bad motoring habits over the years, we might observe that a cultural shift has taken place. It was once accepted that people would drink and drive, for instance. These days, it is not. People who take to the wheel having consumed alcohol quickly lose the support of right-thinking friends and family members.

People once thought it okay to drive cars without wearing seat belts or, in more recent times, without putting seat belts onto children travelling in the rear of vehicles. Again, such behaviour is not acceptable in modern times. We have changed as a society and now habitually fasten up before taking to the road.

The use of mobile phones can be compared with both behaviours. For too long, people have considered it okay to have a conversation while holding a phone. That time has long since passed.

The Government has introduced stronger penalties and greater deterrents and police patrols in other parts of the UK use sophisticated technology to snare offenders. Quite simply, we have it within our own hands to act and reduce the number of phone-related incidents to zero. It is unacceptable to use mobile phones while driving. There are no excuses.

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