Rise in motorists using mobiles

The number of motorists who put their own as well as other road users' lives at risk by using mobiles while driving has risen sharply due to the popularity of smartphones, according to police.

Humberside Police caught 278 motorists using phones at the wheel during a campaign to tackle careless drivers in Hull and the East Riding in September, up over 120% year-on-year.

The ability to access social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, on smartphones was found to force drivers, particularly younger people, to take their eyes off the road to use their phones.

PC Keith Ward, casualty reduction officer for Hull, said: "With smartphones, you can have instant access to things such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, and people are constantly updating them.

"It is a huge distraction, especially among younger people, who don't seem to be able to put their phones down."

Of those who were caught using mobile phones at the wheel in September, 150 chose to attend a £95 course, introduced by Humberside Police, to increase awareness of considerate driving, rather than pay a fine of £60 and accrue three penalty points on their licences.

Penalty points are likely to have a negative impact on motorists'car insurance premiums.

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