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'Ranting' ex blamed for mobile motor offences

Motorist caught on mobile phone. Photo: PA

Motorists caught driving while using their mobile phones have blamed "ranting" ex-wives, over-zealous bosses and even childbirth for their offending behaviour, according to police in Surrey.

One driver also admitted failing to see a red light because he was on the phone and another denied making a call saying he was only using the internet.

Surrey Police and Surrey County Council have released details of the excuses given by drivers as part of a campaign targeting the use of mobile phones while behind the wheel.

In one case, the driver stopped by police pleaded for help from the officer and 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."

Another driver admitted: "I am always using it. It's about time I got caught."

Another driver said: "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 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."