Drivers risking tragedy

Ryton Street, Worksop.'Drivers on mobile phones.
Ryton Street, Worksop.'Drivers on mobile phones.
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THOUSANDS of motorists have been breaking the law and putting themselves and others at risk of death, stark figures show.

Between April 1 2010 and March 31 2011, 1,362 drivers were given fixed penalty notices for failing to wear a seatbelt while 1,524 motorists were handed notices for using a mobile phone behind the wheel across the county.

The alarming data was obtained from Derbyshire Police as part of the Derbyshire Times’ campaign Respect on the Roads.

A police spokesman said: “It’s very likely that more people were caught committing these offences but were given a caution by the officer rather than a formal fixed penalty notice.”

Mike Ashworth, chairman of Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “You’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt.

“It’s alarming that some drivers haven’t taken on board the ‘clunk-click every trip’ message.”

The partnership added that drivers were four times more likely to crash if they were using a mobile phone.

“The road requires all your attention,” added Mr Ashworth.

On the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook, Dawn Goodwin commented: “Every time you go out you see people using a mobile phone and you see aggressive parking and bad driving – it’s getting worse out there.”

Earlier this month, police seized a vehicle and issued fines as part of an action day to tackle a number of driving offences.

The clampdown, codenamed Operation Calanthia, was held in Eckington.

Several motorists received fines and warnings for failing to wear a seatbelt and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

PCSO Dale Merchant, who organised the action day, said: “We continue to work to tackle unsafe drivers.”

Respect on the Roads is aiming to stamp out inconsiderate driving and anger behind the wheel, replacing it with calmness and courtesy.

• If you would like to back our campaign, send your name, home town and, if you would like, why you’re pledging, to, write to Respect on the Roads, 37 Station Road, Chesterfield, S41 7XD or via our website, Facebook or Twitter.