Parents ‘using mobile phones on school run’

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack has said she has witnessed numerous parents using their mobile phones while driving their children to school.

She was speaking as she called for the public to be aware of, and engage with, new Department for Infrastructure consultation regarding mobile phone use while driving.

Colr. Cusack said that on her daily journey to and from work she witnesses many drivers using their phones, “horrifically many of them on the school run.”

The new consultation, which is currently live, is aimed at finding more effective ways of reducing the serious problem of people illegally using phones while behind the wheel. “All drivers should be aware that it is an offence to drive a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device,” Colr. Cusack said. “While the danger posed to both the driver and the lives of others of this offence is currently punishable by a fixed penalty of £60 and three penalty points, this does not appear to be resonating with people as they continue to flout the law.

“In view of this failure, the DFI have stated that the consultation considers whether the current offence and penalties continue to represent an active deterrent. The consultation also proposes a number of longer-term legislative changes to the existing offence aimed at making the law clearer. This will be a benefit to the police, the courts, the legal profession and very importantly, the driver.

“A great deal more needs to be done to eradicate this thoughtless behaviour on our roads. As we have seen by recent television adverts it only takes a second of distraction for lives to be ruined.”

The consultation closes on May 15 and can be accessed via the Departments website, tel. 02890540822 or email: safeandsecuretravel@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk