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Texting, eating and applying make-up - police reveal driving offences committed in 2012

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

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Motorists have been warned of the dangers of distractions behind the wheel after Devon and Cornwall Police revealed a list of offences for which drivers have been fined.

The force issued fixed penalty notices to 70 motorists in the 12 months to October 2012 for not having "proper control" of their vehicle and a further six drivers for not having a "full view" of the road ahead.

The roadside tickets carry a £60 fine and three penalty points on a driving licence while motorists can also be summonsed to court, depending on the seriousness of the case.

Details released by Devon and Cornwall Police under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed the variety of offences for which drivers and motorcycles were stopped and fined.

They included 14 people texting or reading their mobile phone while behind the wheel, four people holding a dog under their arm or on their lap and five who were eating or drinking.

Two drivers were caught writing, one applying make up with both hands and three rolling a cigarette.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "Driving a motor vehicle takes a great deal of concentration and many collisions are blamed on a momentary lapse of concentration.

"If you add into that distractions which are wholly avoidable, then you are going to vastly increase peoples' chances of being involved in an accident. Would any of those who received a fixed penalty notice have done these things during the course of their driving test?

"If the answer to that is no, which is obviously is, then they should not behave like this on the public road."

Other drivers issued with tickets were caught reading, performing skids and wheelies, and using MP3 players or computers.

Two of those deemed not to have a "full view" were caught with laptops on their dashboard while once was seen reading the address on a large parcel.

The force spokesman said people were "well-aware" that holding and using a mobile phone while driving was an offence. But he said modern MP3 players were also a distraction and "just as dangerous".

Tickets in previous years have been issued to a kissing couple and a driver with his arm in a sling. An elderly woman was also spotted driving with her windscreen virtually covered in snow.

The woman was photographed driving in Tiverton and was later spoken to by officers and provided with an ice scraper.

"Weather is a big factor and there are a number of examples of peoples' vision being obscured by either snow or frosty windscreens," the police spokesman added yesterday. "That's also entirely avoidable if the motorist concerned takes few minutes to make sure their vehicle is fit to drive before they set off."

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  • Bilge11  |  January 04 2013, 9:43PM

    Forgot to add, the driver of a Freelander that went through a red light outside Middlemoor Police Headquarters, using his left hand to dial the phone in his right hand which was also holding the steering wheel.

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  • Bilge11  |  January 04 2013, 9:37PM

    Eating, drinking (either insulated cup or 'designer' bottled water), rolling cigarette, lighting cigarette, applying make up, adjusting hair, texting, using phone, playing with satnav. Just an average week viewing drivers of vehicles between Exeter and Plymouth. Several times in the last few months I've had to wait for the driver at the head of the queue for traffic lights, to finish texting, even though the lights have changed to green. I've even seen two instances of drivers using a laptop at traffic lights!

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  • goldfinch7  |  January 04 2013, 3:57PM

    Pulled up at traffic lights on bike -looked into car alongside me -female driver feeding baby on lap!!

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  • accom  |  January 04 2013, 3:19PM

    I saw an FOI disclosure on the Devon and Cornwall police website a while ago with some more reasons for tickets - my favourite one was a guy on a motorbike who was carrying a fascia board!

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