OPINION: A text for a life is no kind of trade-off

South Yorkshire Police Operation Ophelia with Bernie Smith videoing drivers to try and catch them offending behind the wheel. Picture: Andrew Roe
South Yorkshire Police Operation Ophelia with Bernie Smith videoing drivers to try and catch them offending behind the wheel. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Busy, busy, busy. That’s the reality of modern day life, 2016, for most of us as we rush through our days: school runs, phone calls, deals to be done, emails to send, app notifications, errands to run… it’s a non-stop lifestyle.

And during that hectic day it can be so tempting to take that quick phone call at the traffic lights, or send a hurried text on the motorway to tide things over on your journey.

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You have probably seen them: drivers with a phone against their face, one eye half on the road, literally an accident waiting to happen.

It’s a potentially fatal mistake.

South Yorkshire Police has launched a clampdown on drivers who use their phones behind the wheel for that very reason.

On pages 8-9, you can read about the specially-adapted lorry the force is using to catch drivers in the act.

Of course, it’s tempting to feel aggrieved if you get pulled over for making a call at the wheel.

Much like a speeding ticket a few miles per hour over the limit, the refrain of ‘catch some real criminals!’ is a familiar one for embattled drivers already fighting through congestion, roadworks, road tax and spiralling insurance premiums.

Tough. The law is there for a very good reason, and it’s high time these drivers took more responsibility behind the wheel, not just for their own safety, but for the lives of other road users.

No matter how confident you might feel on the roads, no matter how many miles you cover, or how regularly you ‘get away with it’, there is absolutely no excuse for using a mobile phone in any way while driving, unless you have a proper, fully legally compliant hands-free Bluetooth setup.

You might not think it, but even glancing away from the road for a second could mean the difference between spotting a last-minute hazard - like a child running into the road or a car swerving into your lane - and claiming an innocent life. Then you have someone’s death on your conscience, your licence revoked and very probably a jail term to boot.

So next time you reach over to send that quick text or make that call - no matter how urgent - think about that future.

Drink driving is no longer considered ‘okay’ by anyone with sense, and we all know how harsh the consequences are if you’re caught.

It needs to be the same for using a phone.

The urgency of your text won’t be much consolation to an innocent person lying dead in the road.