Drivers eating, using mobile phones, reading and applying make-up at the wheel

A driver fiddles with a packet at the wheel

A driver fiddles with a packet at the wheel

First published in News
Last updated

DRIVERS continue to put themselves and others at risk with ‘dangerous behaviour’ behind the wheel.

Today the Echo can reveal a gallery of motorists snapped flouting the law or increasing their chances of a serious accident.

Using mobile phones, eating, drinking, reading and even applying make-up – despite knowing there is No Excuse, motorists are still doing it.

They have been urged to remember that ‘it’s not worth the cost of a life’.

Drivers have long been warned by safety campaigners that distracted behaviour leaves concentration flagging and heightens the risk of a crash.

More than 10,000 have been caught on their mobiles by officers in the last four years.

But these photos – one showing a woman reading at the wheel on a 50mph stretch of road whilst a child sits in the passenger seat – suggest that drivers still aren’t listening. And in a rural area like West Dorset, it’s especially important to concentrate on the road – there are almost twice as many accidents on rural roads than in towns.

The Dorset Road Safety Partnership is due to begin a major crackdown on mobile phone use whilst driving and other distracting behaviours in the coming months.

It says that since it began campaigning against mobile phone use behind the wheel, the number of people committing the offence has ‘only changed marginally’.

No Excuse project manager Brian Austin, who took a look at these photos, told the Echo: “These are clear examples of drivers being distracted whilst on the road.

“The problem we have is the perception of the public who think it’s just mobile phones – it’s not.

“It’s any sort of behaviour that creates a distraction.

“We had one person who was stopped inputting data into their diet app on their phone.

“But because the phone wasn’t up to their ear, they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong.

“The risk is that the driver is not fully in control of the vehicle whilst they are doing it.

“If a child ran out in front of them and they’re sitting with a sandwich in their hands – which I have seen – they won’t have time to react.

“And when you have a mobile phone conversation, not only do you have a hand off the steering wheel – but where is your brain?

“Is your brain concentrating on the road, or on the conversation you are having?”

He said the challenge for the Road Safe Partnership is making drivers understand the types of behaviour that are unacceptable.

“People don’t understand the concept properly,” he said.

“We’ve had someone listening to the cricket scores, but because he wasn’t actually having a conversation with someone, he thought he wasn’t committing an offence.

“Driving with your concentration on the road is particularly important in a rural area. If you’re driving on a road with lots of turns and bends, how do you know what’s around the corner?

“You could be distracted and turn a bend and there are sheep or horses in the road.”

In October, the Echo revealed that drivers in Dorset are more likely to have points on their licence than almost anywhere else in the country.

Drivers with a DT postcode came ninth in a UK-wide list.

Driver reaction times have been found to be 30 per cent slower whilst using a hands free phone than driving with a blood alcohol level of 80 milligrammes in 100 millitres of blood and nearly 50 percent slower than driving under normal conditions.

Reading and writing at the wheel is even more distracting as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road.

And texting drivers have 35 percent slower reaction times and poor lane control.

• IT IS an offence to use a mobile phone when you are behind the wheel with the engine running to: • Make or receive a call • Send or receive text messages • Access the internet The penalty for any of these offences is three points on your driving licence and a possible fine of up to £100.

If your case goes to court, you could be disqualified as well as have to pay a fine of up to £1,000.

It is not an offence in itself to eat, drink or smoke whilst driving but there is a potential punishment for driving without due care and attention.

This is defined as driving that falls below the expected standard of a competent driver or driving that does not show reasonable consideration for other people using the road or pathways.

Since August last year police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to careless drivers.

• Warning over ‘multi-tasking’ Ed Morrow, campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake said: “Driving is the most complex and dangerous task that most of us do on a regular basis, so it demands our undivided attention.

“Any multi-tasking behind the wheel, whether it’s using a mobile phone, eating or applying make-up, is a potentially deadly distraction. Drivers who talk on the phone – whether it’s handheld or hands-free – are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury.

“Using a hands-free mobile at the wheel is just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone, as it’s the mental distraction that creates the risk.

“At Brake, we work with many families who have lost loved ones and had their lives torn apart because someone decided to multi-task at wheel.

“We’re calling on the government to increase fines and make traffic policing a national priority to deter risky, multi-tasking drivers. We urge all drivers to save any other activities until they’re safely out of the car.”

• Car crash victim in appeal to motorists A DORCHESTER victim of a car accident has urged drivers to remember that ‘however urgent the phone call, it’s not worth the cost of a life’.

Fenella Shelton, pictured above, said that too many drivers have been snapped by the Echo demonstrating ‘dangerous behaviour’.

She added: “My injuries took me three years to recover from – but I was one of the lucky ones.

“Unfortunately, people do think they’re invincible and that an accident isn’t going to happen to them.

“You can cause an injury to yourself or someone else, or even a death.

“Anything that means you can’t put both hands on the wheel, you shouldn’t be doing – whether that’s being on the phone, putting make up on, reading, eating.

“However important you think it is, it is not worth an accident.”

PHOTOS

 

Dorset Echo:

A driver appear to use a mobile phone at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

A driver eating at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Both hands off the wheel

Dorset Echo:

A motorist uses a mobile phone while driving

Dorset Echo:

A motorist uses a mobile phone while driving

Dorset Echo:

A motorist uses a mobile phone while driving

Dorset Echo:

A motorist uses a mobile phone while driving

Dorset Echo:

Fiddling with a packet whilst driving

Dorset Echo:

Drinking from a bottle

Dorset Echo:

Reading at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Eating at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Eating at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Eating at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Using a mobile phone at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Holding a packet of crisps at the wheel 

Dorset Echo:

Applying make-up at the wheel

 

Comments (22)

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12:42pm Sun 29 Jun 14

MrTomSmith says...

Faces mostly blurred and Registrations gone, took my advise, good to see well done. What really needs to be done, is a 1 year ban for every offence, that would sort it out. .......... Next problem............ :-)
Faces mostly blurred and Registrations gone, took my advise, good to see well done. What really needs to be done, is a 1 year ban for every offence, that would sort it out. .......... Next problem............ :-) MrTomSmith
  • Score: -8

12:49pm Sun 29 Jun 14

annotater says...

I presume then that women who, as we have it drummed into us as blokes that can't, they can multi-task and should be able to eat safely, affix their war paint and text at the wheel?
Food for thought, no pun intended!
I presume then that women who, as we have it drummed into us as blokes that can't, they can multi-task and should be able to eat safely, affix their war paint and text at the wheel? Food for thought, no pun intended! annotater
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Sun 29 Jun 14

rosew60 says...

MrTomSmith wrote:
Faces mostly blurred and Registrations gone, took my advise, good to see well done. What really needs to be done, is a 1 year ban for every offence, that would sort it out. .......... Next problem............ :-)
I agree with mr tom smith,
should be banned straight away plus points,
they may think twice next time before they
have killed someone.
[quote][p][bold]MrTomSmith[/bold] wrote: Faces mostly blurred and Registrations gone, took my advise, good to see well done. What really needs to be done, is a 1 year ban for every offence, that would sort it out. .......... Next problem............ :-)[/p][/quote]I agree with mr tom smith, should be banned straight away plus points, they may think twice next time before they have killed someone. rosew60
  • Score: -5

2:56pm Sun 29 Jun 14

burgerboy says...

I certainly hope all the uncensored photo's are given to the police as all the number plates and faces must all be quite clear and they prosecute where possible............
...as they say " no excuse".
I certainly hope all the uncensored photo's are given to the police as all the number plates and faces must all be quite clear and they prosecute where possible............ ...as they say " no excuse". burgerboy
  • Score: 13

3:53pm Sun 29 Jun 14

seashellbill says...

What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer?
What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer? seashellbill
  • Score: 8

7:30pm Sun 29 Jun 14

angrydorseter says...

seashellbill wrote:
What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer?
Should just show them. It is entirely legal, despite what people were saying.
[quote][p][bold]seashellbill[/bold] wrote: What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer?[/p][/quote]Should just show them. It is entirely legal, despite what people were saying. angrydorseter
  • Score: 2

9:02pm Sun 29 Jun 14

rodwell-t-rail says...

whilst I do not condone what these drivers are doing and I am not trying to defend these people. I do not believe that these photographs should be published unless the drivers have been prosecuted for dangerous driving or indeed proven guilty of another crime. It is very easy to throw stones. As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel as long as you are in control of the car. The article also states that it is not illegal to eat or drink behind the wheel. I am sure the arguments will go on for ever as to whether it is right or wrong. I have yet to meet a driver that has not been over the speed limit at sometime and speed is probably the biggest attributer to most accidents.
As far as zero tollerance goes, I myself have knocked on a police car window that was parked outside M&S with it's engine still running to tell the police officer that it is illegal to use his mobile phone at that time. That went down well. Or the police officer that regularly jumps out of his car to get a newspaper from Bradbury's and leaves his engine running. The best of all though happened about a month ago now. when I went to collect my daughter from her babysitting duties. The lady that she was babysitting for had just returned from an evening in dorchester. She passed a parked police car that was sitting in the middle of the roundabout next to the Mushrooms on Littlemoor.As she proceeded along the Littlemoor Rd she saw in her mirror that the police car was following her. On Preston rd near the doctors surgery the police car pulled her over. the sarcastic police officer asked the lady whether her Jaguar told her or not that one of her main beam lights was not working.before the officer gave her a 7 day producer she asked the police officer if their police car told them that they had infact just driven the full length of littlemoor rd behind her jaguar without any lights on at all. The embarrassed police officer did not give her a producer and said that she could be on her way.
As for blanking out faces ect, what is the point of this and then showing company names on the vehicles. could a person be sacked or repremanded by their company for having their photograph in the newspaper when they have not been found guilty of committing a crime?
whilst I do not condone what these drivers are doing and I am not trying to defend these people. I do not believe that these photographs should be published unless the drivers have been prosecuted for dangerous driving or indeed proven guilty of another crime. It is very easy to throw stones. As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel as long as you are in control of the car. The article also states that it is not illegal to eat or drink behind the wheel. I am sure the arguments will go on for ever as to whether it is right or wrong. I have yet to meet a driver that has not been over the speed limit at sometime and speed is probably the biggest attributer to most accidents. As far as zero tollerance goes, I myself have knocked on a police car window that was parked outside M&S with it's engine still running to tell the police officer that it is illegal to use his mobile phone at that time. That went down well. Or the police officer that regularly jumps out of his car to get a newspaper from Bradbury's and leaves his engine running. The best of all though happened about a month ago now. when I went to collect my daughter from her babysitting duties. The lady that she was babysitting for had just returned from an evening in dorchester. She passed a parked police car that was sitting in the middle of the roundabout next to the Mushrooms on Littlemoor.As she proceeded along the Littlemoor Rd she saw in her mirror that the police car was following her. On Preston rd near the doctors surgery the police car pulled her over. the sarcastic police officer asked the lady whether her Jaguar told her or not that one of her main beam lights was not working.before the officer gave her a 7 day producer she asked the police officer if their police car told them that they had infact just driven the full length of littlemoor rd behind her jaguar without any lights on at all. The embarrassed police officer did not give her a producer and said that she could be on her way. As for blanking out faces ect, what is the point of this and then showing company names on the vehicles. could a person be sacked or repremanded by their company for having their photograph in the newspaper when they have not been found guilty of committing a crime? rodwell-t-rail
  • Score: 9

9:24pm Sun 29 Jun 14

breamoreboy says...

rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.
rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse. breamoreboy
  • Score: 1

10:02pm Sun 29 Jun 14

satisfecho says...

What next will the ECHO claim is a distraction?

Winding down the window?
What next will the ECHO claim is a distraction? Winding down the window? satisfecho
  • Score: 7

10:13pm Sun 29 Jun 14

martaaay2 says...

drinking some water/non alcoholic, surely this is an example of sensible behaviour by staying hydrated whilst driving...
drinking some water/non alcoholic, surely this is an example of sensible behaviour by staying hydrated whilst driving... martaaay2
  • Score: 17

7:32am Mon 30 Jun 14

The Fish says...

angrydorseter wrote:
seashellbill wrote: What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer?
Should just show them. It is entirely legal, despite what people were saying.
Until they are successfully prosecuted you require permission from the person whose photograph they have taken - its called the privacy law.
[quote][p][bold]angrydorseter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]seashellbill[/bold] wrote: What a difference a day makes! Number plates not shown, faces in some cases blurred, They were on show yesterday, have you been contacted by a lawyer?[/p][/quote]Should just show them. It is entirely legal, despite what people were saying.[/p][/quote]Until they are successfully prosecuted you require permission from the person whose photograph they have taken - its called the privacy law. The Fish
  • Score: 2

7:38am Mon 30 Jun 14

caz maz says...

All this says to me is beware of white van drivers as there is a lot of them in there pictures............
.......
All this says to me is beware of white van drivers as there is a lot of them in there pictures............ ....... caz maz
  • Score: 0

7:58am Mon 30 Jun 14

leo210856 says...

Its quite amusing that so many want to rant on about is this person doing this or that person doing something they think is ok or would I pass my driving test that they have missed the message in the article.

As they say you have been warned!
Its quite amusing that so many want to rant on about is this person doing this or that person doing something they think is ok or would I pass my driving test that they have missed the message in the article. As they say you have been warned! leo210856
  • Score: 1

8:35am Mon 30 Jun 14

The Fish says...

breamoreboy wrote:
rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.
There is no specific UK law that states you must have both hands on the steering wheel. Other than the gear stick have you never adjusted your mirrors (dazzling), turned your screen demister on/off, turned your lights on - all require you to take your hands of the wheel. All the highway code states is you must remain in control of your car - very loose words, but does'nt say you must have both hands on the steering wheel.
[quote][p][bold]breamoreboy[/bold] wrote: rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.[/p][/quote]There is no specific UK law that states you must have both hands on the steering wheel. Other than the gear stick have you never adjusted your mirrors (dazzling), turned your screen demister on/off, turned your lights on - all require you to take your hands of the wheel. All the highway code states is you must remain in control of your car - very loose words, but does'nt say you must have both hands on the steering wheel. The Fish
  • Score: 12

10:54am Mon 30 Jun 14

cj07589 says...

breamoreboy wrote:
rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.
Wrong there is no specific wording as such but it is obviously commonsense and good practice to steer any vehicle using both hands. I do think it is rather excessive to say that drinking from a water bottle is not permitted, easy said than done on a long journey and we all know the reality of modern living.
If it is no longer politically correct to rehydrate yourself without a telling off could we please issue automatic bans for those who drive and smoke at the sometime?
[quote][p][bold]breamoreboy[/bold] wrote: rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.[/p][/quote]Wrong there is no specific wording as such but it is obviously commonsense and good practice to steer any vehicle using both hands. I do think it is rather excessive to say that drinking from a water bottle is not permitted, easy said than done on a long journey and we all know the reality of modern living. If it is no longer politically correct to rehydrate yourself without a telling off could we please issue automatic bans for those who drive and smoke at the sometime? cj07589
  • Score: 5

12:12pm Mon 30 Jun 14

elloello1980 says...

We moan about the Echo not carrying out investigative stories, but moan even more when they do.

Well done to the Echo I say, this should become a weekly feature. get locals to send in snaps and shame the worst
We moan about the Echo not carrying out investigative stories, but moan even more when they do. Well done to the Echo I say, this should become a weekly feature. get locals to send in snaps and shame the worst elloello1980
  • Score: -1

5:29pm Mon 30 Jun 14

westbaywonder says...

Most of the vehicles shown are front wheel drive,so not only are the front wheels being rotated to pull the vehicle along they are also steering it.
Add a crisp eating etc driver, then add a pot hole or a little torque steer and its a recipe for fender bender time!
"My car suddenly left the road and went through the hedge"
Hmm i wonder why?
If drivers were also taught how these vehicles differ from rear wheel drive and the different driving technique needed there might be less accidents for a start.
Most of the vehicles shown are front wheel drive,so not only are the front wheels being rotated to pull the vehicle along they are also steering it. Add a crisp eating etc driver, then add a pot hole or a little torque steer and its a recipe for fender bender time! "My car suddenly left the road and went through the hedge" Hmm i wonder why? If drivers were also taught how these vehicles differ from rear wheel drive and the different driving technique needed there might be less accidents for a start. westbaywonder
  • Score: -2

9:42am Tue 1 Jul 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

The Fish wrote:
breamoreboy wrote:
rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.
There is no specific UK law that states you must have both hands on the steering wheel. Other than the gear stick have you never adjusted your mirrors (dazzling), turned your screen demister on/off, turned your lights on - all require you to take your hands of the wheel. All the highway code states is you must remain in control of your car - very loose words, but does'nt say you must have both hands on the steering wheel.
Thats a bit like saying that strictly speaking owning a knife isn't illegal when your talking about knife crime.
Is you point that people should be able to drive one handed? - if so then say so.
[quote][p][bold]The Fish[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]breamoreboy[/bold] wrote: rodwell-t-rail "As far as I am aware it is not a driving test failure to drive with one hand on the wheel", you are wrong. You must always have both hands on the wheel except when changing gear. No excuse.[/p][/quote]There is no specific UK law that states you must have both hands on the steering wheel. Other than the gear stick have you never adjusted your mirrors (dazzling), turned your screen demister on/off, turned your lights on - all require you to take your hands of the wheel. All the highway code states is you must remain in control of your car - very loose words, but does'nt say you must have both hands on the steering wheel.[/p][/quote]Thats a bit like saying that strictly speaking owning a knife isn't illegal when your talking about knife crime. Is you point that people should be able to drive one handed? - if so then say so. Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: 0

9:47am Tue 1 Jul 14

Parkstreetshufle says...

Its an absolute no brainer that using a mobile whilst driving - and I have no doubt that the police do it as they can get away with it, should be punishable by a driving ban and custodial sentence for those that cause death or massive injury because they couldn't be bothered to pull over to the side of the road.
Every study carried out shows that the attention span drops to a level where you may as well be drunk. Use your phone whilst driving - is the same as drink driving...
Doing other things like eating is not really in the same league, and should be separated to make a very significant difference.
Its an absolute no brainer that using a mobile whilst driving - and I have no doubt that the police do it as they can get away with it, should be punishable by a driving ban and custodial sentence for those that cause death or massive injury because they couldn't be bothered to pull over to the side of the road. Every study carried out shows that the attention span drops to a level where you may as well be drunk. Use your phone whilst driving - is the same as drink driving... Doing other things like eating is not really in the same league, and should be separated to make a very significant difference. Parkstreetshufle
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Tue 1 Jul 14

breamoreboy says...

martaaay2 wrote:
drinking some water/non alcoholic, surely this is an example of sensible behaviour by staying hydrated whilst driving...
No, as they should have ensured that they had prepared for their journey or they have been driving for too long and need to take a break anyway.
[quote][p][bold]martaaay2[/bold] wrote: drinking some water/non alcoholic, surely this is an example of sensible behaviour by staying hydrated whilst driving...[/p][/quote]No, as they should have ensured that they had prepared for their journey or they have been driving for too long and need to take a break anyway. breamoreboy
  • Score: -1

11:28pm Tue 1 Jul 14

hobbitdamian says...

its ok to have 2 hands on the steering wheel when you have 2 hands!!!!
its ok to have 2 hands on the steering wheel when you have 2 hands!!!! hobbitdamian
  • Score: 0

10:11am Wed 2 Jul 14

dorsetspeed says...

Lots of words from Brian Austin, but until we see some transparency, honesty, and some kind of evidence that it is in fact saving life that is the priority of Dorset Police, not making money, those words have little impact. And how many more years will we have to put up with "no excuse" before we start to see an improvement in driving in Dorset? As is evident on the road and in this news article, bad driving is still widespread, although what Dorset Police seem to be blissfully unaware of is that while they sit in their vans making £millions from drivers a tiny amount above absurd limits well below original safe design speeds for the road, the true dangers come from simple driver error, and the kind of deliberate reckless and extreme dangerous driving that doesn't happen in front of their stripy vans.
Lots of words from Brian Austin, but until we see some transparency, honesty, and some kind of evidence that it is in fact saving life that is the priority of Dorset Police, not making money, those words have little impact. And how many more years will we have to put up with "no excuse" before we start to see an improvement in driving in Dorset? As is evident on the road and in this news article, bad driving is still widespread, although what Dorset Police seem to be blissfully unaware of is that while they sit in their vans making £millions from drivers a tiny amount above absurd limits well below original safe design speeds for the road, the true dangers come from simple driver error, and the kind of deliberate reckless and extreme dangerous driving that doesn't happen in front of their stripy vans. dorsetspeed
  • Score: -2

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