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Study: Texting while walking may pose health risk

Texting on the move may affect posture and balance, exposing the mobile phone user to danger, new research has found.

Texting
Walking while texting can lead to increased head movement and disrupt balance, researchers found. Credit: PA

Participants in the Australian study walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of around 28 feet as their body movements were analysed in three dimensions.

The 26 healthy volunteers were asked either to walk without a phone, or to walk while reading or typing a text.

While texting, participants walked more slowly and were more likely to swerve from a straight course.

Study leader Dr Siobhan Schabrun, from the University of Queensland in Australia, said: "Texting, and to a lesser extent reading, on your mobile phone affects your ability to walk and balance. This may impact the safety of people who text and walk at the same time."

Cameron agrees with the principle of 'go home' texts

Prime Minister David Cameron agrees with the principle of the Home Office text messages urging people to contact them about their immigration status.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The point of the texting, which the Prime Minister does agree with, is to get in touch with people who may be here illegally and to say to them ... that they need to be considering going home voluntarily or being removed.

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

"The principle of the text message is correct. This is one of various means the Home Office uses to get in touch with people who are here illegally to bring about their removal from the UK.

"It's a tiny proportion of texts that may have gone to erroneous people and the wording of the text just says 'you may be here illegally'."

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Capita has 'no record' of sending text to campaigner

Private contractor Capita said it has no record of sending an anti-racism campaigner a text urging him to contact them about his immigration status.

Suresh Grover, founder of The Monitoring Group, told The Independent he was "absolutely shocked and quite horrified" to receive the text message warning him he "may not have leave to remain in the UK."

A spokesperson for Capita, who sent the messages at the request of the Home Office, said of the 58,800 people they contacted by text or email between December 2012 and June 2013, just 14 complaints were received claiming they had been sent in error.

"Most complaints occurred in the earlier part of this period where Capita was, as part of the contract, updating sometimes out-of-date Home Office records," the spokesperson added.

Home Office denies 'go home' texts often wrongly sent

The Home Office has denied claims that text messages accusing people of being illegal immigrants are frequently sent to people who have a right to be in the UK.

"We are taking proactive steps to contact individuals who records show have no valid right to be in the UK, some of which date back to December 2008," a Home Office spokesperson said. "We believe it is right to enforce the immigration rules."

The Home Office.
A Home Office spokesperson said only 14 people had been contacted in error. Credit: Joel Ryan/PA Archive

The Home Office said private contractor Capita, the firm responsible for the messages, has accepted it sent 14 texts in error out of the 58,800 people suspected of not having a right to be in the UK.

"Out of thousands of people contacted by Capita, a small number have been found to have the right to be in the UK or an outstanding application," the spokesperson added.

Immigration 'lurches from one gimmick to another'

Shadow immigration minister David Hanson said Theresa May's immigration system "lurches from one gimmick to another with little effect" following reports people were wrongly sent text messages accusing them of being illegal immigrants.

A UK Border Agency officer with a passport.
Shadow immigration minister David Hanson called the border police 'shambolic and incompetent;. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mr Hanson said: “The reports that the Government has allowed a private contractor to send British citizens text message telling them to leave the country demonstrates once more just how shambolic and incompetent the Home Office’s border police is under Theresa May.

“Yet again, like the offensive and inappropriate ad vans, the Government will be using taxpayer’s hard earned money to offend and alienate its own citizens.”

Campaigner 'horrified' to receive 'go home' text

An anti-racism campaigner said he was "absolutely shocked and quite horrified" to receive a text message from the Home Office warning him he "may not have leave to remain in the UK."

Suresh Grover, founder of The Monitoring Group, told The Independent, "I thought it wasn't meant for me. I came here with my parents in 1966, I was born in East Africa and have always had a British passport."

Anti-racism campaigner Suresh Grover received one of the so-called 'go home' text messages.
Anti-racism campaigner Suresh Grover received one of the so-called 'go home' text messages. Credit: Jane Mingay/PA Archive

Mr Grover, who called the number on the text and spoke to someone at private contractor Capita, said: "The more I talked to the woman the angrier I got. She was asking for more personal information about me and was not telling me where she got my number.

"I think it's outrageous sending people random texts without knowing who they are sending them to ... it's horrific."

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103 complaints to Home Office over 'go home' texts

More than 100 people have complained to the Home Office after they were wrongly sent text messages accusing them of being illegal immigrants and telling them "to leave the UK", The Independent reported.

The Home Office sent this text message.
More than 100 people have complained to the Home Office after these text messages were sent. Credit: Channel 4 News

A Freedom of Information request submitted by anti-racism campaigner Suresh Grover - who also received the message - shows 39,100 individuals have been contacted in this way.

Of those, 103 have complained to the Home Office and 95 complained to Capita, the private contractor that issued the texts.

More than 28 per cent text while driving says poll

Of those who used a vehicle for work, 31 per cent said they texted while driving compared with 28 per cent for non-work drivers. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

More than a quarter of motorists text while driving while those who use cars for work are even more likely to offend.

And more than one in seven say they apply make-up or shave while at the wheel, the survey by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.

Of those who used a vehicle for work, 31 per cent said they texted while driving compared with a figure of 28 per cent for non-work drivers. A total of 17 per cent of for-work drivers admitted to attending to personal grooming while at the wheel compared with 14 per cent for non-work motorists.

Drivers using vehicles for work were more likely (37 per cent) to talk on hands-free mobiles while on the road than non-work drivers (24 per cent). The poll also found that 54 per cent of for-work road users admitted to speeding on 60mph roads, compared with 34 per cent for non-work drivers.

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Dangers of texting and driving

Mary Rutherford died in head-on crash Credit: family photo

Sixty eight year old Mary Rutherford, from Withernsea, died when the car she was in was hit head on by Nikita Ainley. She was just 18 and was sending a message on her mobile phone as she drove.

Mrs Rutherford's daughter, Dawn Timmings has previously spoken about her grief and anger over the way her mother died:

"My mum didn't deserve to die like that. I just don't understand what could be so important that you'd put people's lives at risk like that."

Phone records proved that Ainely, now 20, had been sending a message when she smashed head-on into Mrs Rutherford's car in May 2011.

But it was only last month that she pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. Road safety campaigners say sentences should be tough and that people who text while driving can e up to 23 times more likely to crash

Mum and daughter in happier times Credit: family photo
scene of the crash near Withernsea in 2011 Credit: Calendar news
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