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Ex-wives and over-zealous bosses among excuses for using a mobile while driving

Mobile phone 2Calls from ex-wives, over-zealous bosses and child birth are just some of the excuses drivers have given to the police for using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

Despite being caught red-handed, many motorists still attempt to talk their way out of trouble. As part of Surrey Police and Surrey County Council’s Drive SMART campaign, traffic cops recalled some of the weird and wonderful excuses they have heard.

One driver even pleaded for help after being pulled over when he said: “It was my ex-wife harassing me, can you speak to her?”

Another motorist blamed work pressures when he said: “My boss called to see where I was.”

A father-to-be explained: “I answered the phone because my wife is having a baby and I thought she may have gone into labour.”

The lure of a smart phone proved too tempting for one motorist who said: “I’m not on the phone, I am looking something up on the internet”. While another pleaded: “I wasn’t calling anyone, I was replying to an email.”

For some, honesty is the best policy, with one driver admitting: “I am always using it. It’s about time I got caught.”

A driver with the best of intentions explained: “I was just telling them I couldn’t answer as I was driving.” While another claimed: “This is the first time I have used it.”

And a man stopped for running a red light couldn’t help digging a hole for himself when he said: “Sorry, I didn’t even see the red light, I was on my phone at the time.”

Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “It may be tempting to answer a call or check your Facebook while driving, but it is a huge distraction and the consequences can be devastating.

“You are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving. Your reaction times are 50% slower and you are more likely to drift across lanes. If you get caught, you face three penalty points on your licence and a £60 fine. Please take notice of our Drive SMART campaign and don’t use a phone while driving.”

Duncan Brown, Head of Road Safety at Surrey Police, said: “Police officers are only too aware of the tragedies that follow lapses in concentration. Many of these are caused by drivers being distracted or losing control of their vehicle and can be avoided.
“Keep your head up and both eyes on the road. Texting, updating social media sites or reading emails takes the attention away from driving safely and even a momentary lapse in concentration can mean life or death for the driver or other road users.
“Surrey Police will continue to identify and take action against drivers who feel their phone or smartphone warrants more attention than the safety of themselves or others.”

Top unusual excuses include:

• It was my ex-wife harassing me, can you speak to her?
• It was my boss checking up on me
• I answered the phone because my wife is having a baby and I thought she may have gone into labour
• I was just telling them I couldn’t answer as I was driving
• Sorry, I didn’t even see the red light. I was on my phone at the time
• I am always using it. It’s about time I got caught
• I’m late picking the kids up from school
• I was not on the phone, I was looking something up on the internet
• I wasn’t calling anyone, I was replying to an email
• I was keeping my ear warm

As of Monday, March 18, Surrey County Council and Surrey Police’s Drive SMART campaign will be focusing on the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving and will be urging people not to do so. For more information visit http://www.drivesmartsurrey.org.uk.

ENDS

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk or on 0208 541 7259.

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