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  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

New tech warns phone-addict drivers

We all know it's against the law but thousands of drivers in the south-east are still using their mobile phones behind the wheel, making calls, texting, and even taking pictures.

In Sussex last year, more than 1,800 drivers were caught using a phone while driving. And in Kent, more than 1,000 drivers were given penalties in 2014.

Now a trial has started in Sussex of an "intelligent lamppost" that can detect when a phone is being used in a car - and it flashes a warning - telling you to stop doing it.

But will it work? David Johns investigates. He speaks to Carl Knapp of the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership; Peter Rodger of the Institute of Advanced Motorists; and sign manufacturer Tim Barnett.

School principal explains why mobile phones have been banned

The debate's been running for years: are mobile phones bad for children ?

Now, at least, in one part of the South East, and for one age group, that question has been answered.

Ebbsfleet Academy in North West Kent has banned mobile phones - with impressive results.

Alison Colwell is in charge of the school. She told Sangeeta why the ban had been introduced


Huge improvement in GCSE results after banning of mobile phones

The phones are banned at Ebbsfleet Academy Credit: ITV

GCSE results at the Ebbsfleet Academy in Kent are almost twice as good since the school banned smartphones in 2013.

Jon Coles, the head of United Learning, which oversees around 50 schools, says the costs of allowing the use of mobile phones in school are much greater than the opportunities.

The White Horse Federation of seven primary schools in Swindon also bans mobile phones during the school day in order to improve pupil behaviour.

Technology is transforming society and even classrooms - but all too often we hear of lessons being disrupted by the temptation of the smartphone.

Learning is hard work and children are all too aware of this. So when they have a smartphone in their pocket that offers instant entertainment and reward, they can be easily distracted from their work.

This is a 21st Century problem and the majority of schools are dealing with it effectively. But I will now probe deeper into this issue, and behaviour challenges more broadly, to uncover the real extent of the problem and see what we can do to ensure all children focus on their learning.

– Tom Bennett, school behaviour expert

Mum's campaign to prevent texting at wheel after death of her son

The mother of a teenage cyclist - killed after a collision with a van - is calling on the Government to back a new phone app, designed to stop drivers from texting.

Daniel Squire was killed while cycling to Deal two years ago. A van driver was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving - despite admitting in court he'd been texting shortly before the accident.

Tracy Squire is supporting the app - which disables the mobile phone as soon as the driver gets into a car. Derek Johnson reports.


What's this? Children try out the first ever mobile phones

It may be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when there were no mobile phones. Thirty years ago this week, the first ever call from a huge transportable device was made in the UK, on the Vodafone network - now one of the region's largest employers. A few examples of the metal monster still exist, so we asked some schoolchildren what they made of them...

Drivers targetted in phone clampdown

Officers from the Hampshire and Thames Valley Joint Operation Unit have begun a week long operation targeting people who use their mobile phones while driving.

The operation will run across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley and will see dedicated teams of officers targeting those who break the law by using their mobile phone while driving. As well as imposing penalties on those who flout the law, police will also be educating drivers about the dangers.

Between April 1 2013 and March 31 2014, officers have caught 15952 drivers using mobile phones or similar devices, across the three counties. Male drivers accounted for 12280 of those detected.

5280 of the drivers were caught in the Hampshire Constabulary area and 10672 in the Thames Valley Police area.

Those aged between 26 and 37 were the most prevalent offenders with 5521 being caught across the two forces during the time period.

The Facts

You’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while drivingReaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50 per cent slower than normal drivingEven careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash

The Law:

It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.The penalties: If caught using your phone while driving, you can expect an automatic fixed penalty notice of three points on your licence and a fine of £100. The case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

As an alternative, those caught may be offered a Driver Diversion Course as an alternative to prosecution. The cost of the course is £85 and run by AA DriveTech.

You can use hands-free phones, sat navs and 2-way radios when you’re driving or riding. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.

You can use a phone in your vehicle only if you need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or unpractical to stop; or if you are safely parked.

“Using a mobile phone whilst driving is extremely dangerous. You are fours times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone whilst driving. The reaction times for drivers is around 50 per cent slower than normal when using a phone.

“My advice is to turn off your phone or put it on silent. Keep your phone out of reach to avoid the temptation of looking at texts or making a call, it's not worth the risk!"

– Sgt Rob Heard

Pensioner attacked in mobile row

A pensioner was attacked by a motorist after he told him off for driving while using a mobile phone.

The 88-year-old victim was walking in The Square, Findon, when he saw a black car driving through the village at about 5.15pm on November 20.

He waved his finger at the motorist and when the car stopped nearby, the pensioner tapped on the window and told the man he should not be on the phone while driving.

The driver got out of the car and pushed the pensioner over. The victim suffered a suspected fractured hip

Detective Inspector Andy Westwood said: "The victim was assaulted simply for telling the driver he was committing an offence and putting people in danger by being on the phone."

A 62-year-old man from Littlehampton was arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed until 18 December.

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