NEWS COMMENT: When will drivers learn not to use mobiles?

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Is there ever a time when it’s safe to use your mobile phone while driving?

What about if you quickly pick it up to read a text message?

Or how about answering it just to let the caller know you ‘can’t talk right now?’

The answer, to any right-thinking person, is obviously no.

But turn to pages 7, 10 and 11 to see that people are still risking their own and others’ lives to chat and text on their mobiles while driving.

Hampshire police this week launched a crackdown on the dangerous practice.

While our reporter joined them on the operation they witnessed something that was almost beyond belief.

A driver in Swanwick was caught brazenly smoking cannabis and talking on his mobile phone while driving at 60mph on the M27.

By his side was an unopen bottle of beer and cigarette papers scattered around the car.

What sort of person would consider getting behind the wheel and smoking cannabis?

Inspector Andy Tester and his team caught the 43-year-old in the act. He said it was ‘as bad as it gets’.

The deaths of 32 people in 2016 were attributed to using mobiles while driving, up 60 per cent on the year before.

People caught using their phones while driving now face six points on their licence and a £200 fine following a shake-up in the law last year.

Yet people still continue to do it. We’ve all been in a situation where you’re stuck in traffic, your phone rings and you consider taking it. But what’s it worth? Death? Serious injury?

Because that’s the risk you’re taking if you do answer it.

Insp Tester says fortunately the number of people being caught is going down.

So, cannabis driver aside, it seems the message may be hitting home.