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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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New app sources closest defibrillator

A new app for your mobile phone which shows you your nearest defibrillator, has been launched by South Central Ambulance. It includes the location of more than 600 of the machines in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire

Statistics show that in cases of sudden cardiac arrest outside hospital, only 1 in 10 people survive. However, when bystanders provide CPR and use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) before emergency medical services personnel arrive, as many as 4 in 10 victims survive.

This innovative new app is a real lifesaver. Modern AEDs are incredibly simple to use - even a child could do it, and the ability of people to be more confident in giving CPR and to quickly locate their nearest AED and use it on a person suffering a suspected cardiac arrest could save thousands of lives each year."

– Professor Charles Deakin, SCAS Divisional Medical Director

Should mobile phones be banned in schools?

Should mobile phones be banned in schools? Several in the South - like Blatchington Mill in Brighton - only allow them to be used during breaks.

But others say they are a useful tool. At schools - like the Priory in Portsmouth - pupils use them in geography lessons for orienteering - and to record the homework set. Peter Bearne investigates.

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Vodafone buys Cable & Wireless for £1.04bn

The Newbury-based telecoms giant Vodafone is set to become the UK's second biggest telecoms operator after it agreed to buy Cable & Wireless Worldwide for £1.04 billion.

The firm will be second largest in the industry in the UK once the deal is completed. The largest being BT.

The company offered 38p a share for Cable & Wireless Worldwide, a 92% premium to the closing price on the day before the talks were unveiled.

"The acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide creates a leading integrated player in the enterprise segment of the UK communications market and brings attractive cost savings to our UK and international operations."

– Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone Group