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 respect@derbyshiretimes.co.uk, write to Respect on the Roads, 37 Station Road, Chesterfield, S41 7XD or via our website, Facebook or Twitter.

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk