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Police forces across the region start clampdown on handheld mobile phone use in cars

Woman on phone in car (posed by model) Credit: PA

Police officers in Norfolk, Suffolk and Northamptonshire are among those across the country who are taking part in a campaign to tackle drivers who use handheld mobile phones while driving.

According to the motoring safety charity Brake, 80,000 drivers in East Anglia have points on their licence for being distracted while driving by mobile phone use or other distractions

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Mobiles putting 'most vulnerable road users in danger'

Mobile phones pose a "similar" threat to road users as drunk drivers would and are leading otherwise responsible drivers into "horrific" accidents, a safety campaigner has said.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend explained:

We're living in an age when being constantly connected is the norm. More and more of us have smartphones, and find it hard to switch off, even for a minute.

While there are enormous benefits to this new technology, it's also posing dangerous temptations to drivers to divert their concentration away from the critical task at hand, often putting our most vulnerable road users in danger.

Many people who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are succumbing to using their phone and other distractions while driving, oblivious that the effect can be similar and the consequences just as horrific.

– Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend


First British plane to be built in years makes maiden flight over Norfolk

The first new British plane to be built in years has taken to air for the first time in the skies above Norfolk.

With Cambridge long being a centre for aviation technology it's no surprise that the e-Go was designed and made just a few miles from the city.

Kate Prout was invited to watch the maiden flight, click below to see the report:

New British plane makes maiden flight over Norfolk

The single seater e-Go has a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

The first new British plane to be built in years has made its maiden flight over Norfolk. The single seater e-Go was designed and constructed in the village of Conington near Cambridge and has a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

After more test flights it will come onto the market next year at a cost of £50,000.

Chief test pilot, Keith Dennison said: "Because of the small wing at the front and a big wing at the back, it enables us to put this lovely canopy on the airplane. And the view out the front is quite exceptional.

"Very light handling, it just makes the whole thing a joy to fly. Because it's so economical you are going to be able to enjoy flying much more frequently than in something else."

Still a "massive amount" to do on level-crossing safety, says mother

Olivia Bazlinton and Charlotte Thompson who were killed on the level crossing at Elsenham in 2005.

Network Rail needs to do a "massive amount" to make level crossings safer, the parent of a teenager killed by a train has told MPs.

Tina Hughes, who now works with the firm on improving crossings, said Network Rail had made changes but were only "scratching the surface" of what needed to be done.

Ms Hughes's daughter Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and her friend Charlotte Thompson, 13, were hit by a train in 2005 as they crossed the tracks at Elsenham in Essex.

Ms Hughes, who works with Network Rail as its "level crossing user champion", told MPs: "I believe that they have made very significant changes but they are only just scratching the surface of the things that they need to do. There is a massive amount of work that needs to be done."

Olivia's father Chris Bazlinton, appearing alongside Ms Hughes in front of MPs on the Transport Select Committee, said he believed information about their deaths had been covered up in a "conspiracy of silence".


Families speak at level crossing inquiry

Families from this region whose children were killed and seriously injured at railway level crossings have been at a parliamentary inquiry which opened in London today.

The parents of Olivia Bazlinton, who died alongside friend Charlotte Thompson at Elsenham near Bishop's Stortford, were among those to appear before the Transport Select Committee.

It is claimed that Network Rail put financial considerations above public safety.

Matthew Hudson reports.

Father of level crossing victim wants answers from Network Rail

The father of a teenager who was killed at a level crossing in Essex has accused Network Rail of a cover-up - as he prepares to speak at a parliamentary inquiry later today.

Chris Bazlinton's daughter Olivia died with her friend Charlotte Thompson in Elsenham eight years ago.

Today he will join the grandfather of a boy who was badly injured at a crossing in Beccles, Suffolk, in front of the Transport Select Committee this afternoon. The inquiry will look at safety at level crossings.

Today Mr Bazlinton said he wanted to know why key documents linked to the investigation into his daughter's death were not made public sooner.

Network Rail says it has promised the families it is committed to making the railways as safe as possible.

Fine for Luton Airport over death of passenger

Luton Airport has been ordered to pay almost £300,000 in fines and costs after a pensioner died on a crossing outside the terminal.

Mary Whiting from Norfolk had just returned from holiday, when she was hit by a lorry in 2009.

In June a jury decided that the airport had breached health and safety laws. The lorry driver was previously cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson

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