Mobile phones now 'commonest cause of car crashes' in South Yorkshire believes police commissioner

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South Yorkshire police commissioner reveals concerns over phones and pets as causes of crashes

South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner has warned over the dangers of phones and pets following crashes on the county's roads.

Commissioner Alan Billings believes the most common cause of the crashes that he hears about in his briefings by police are now mobile phones, and is also warning of the risks posed by children or pets causing distractions to motorists.

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It comes as it emerged that 832 fines were issued by South Yorkshire Police across the county for driving while using a mobile phone.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commission Alan Billings says mobile phones are the most common cause of car crashes he sees. Picture: David KessenSouth Yorkshire Police and Crime Commission Alan Billings says mobile phones are the most common cause of car crashes he sees. Picture: David Kessen
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commission Alan Billings says mobile phones are the most common cause of car crashes he sees. Picture: David Kessen | National World

The figures are based on a FOI request made by Halfords, for the last year, and they come as figures nationally show 161 people were killed or seriously injured due to mobile phone usage at the wheel, and a further 674 were injured last year

Speaking about road safety, and making the roads safer, Mr Billings said: "I know what comes across my desk every day, because every day I receive from the police, an outline of the serious incidents that have happened on our roads, in the previous 24 hours, and sadly, there are some things that come up time and time again.

"Probably the most common is the use of mobile phones. People just don't realise how distracting they are when they're driving, so I see incidents, road traffic collisions, that involve people because they've been using a mobile phone and they've got distracted in that way.

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"It's so tempting to pick it up when you're late for an appointment or you're worried about something. You really shouldn't be doing it - it's distracting and causes a lot of accidents."

He said other causes of crashes had also included children distracting the driver, and pets.

He said he had seen incidents where it has been a dog that has been loose in the car and has distracted the driver or pawed at the drivers arms that had caused crashes.

Retailer Halfords also provided information for the number of fines for 'bald' tyres in South Yorkshire, warning that they thought tyres were a serious issue on the region's roads.

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Police issued 117 fines for worn tyres in South Yorkshire in the last year.

Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said:"“Mobile phone usage at the wheel is completely unacceptable and dangerous, make no mistake - but so are worn tyres. Tyres are the only thing that connects a vehicle to the road and the figures for deaths and serious accidents caused by worn tyres reflect this."