Be aware: Texting and driving – do you know what it does?

The British Transport Police are urging people not to text and drive after an incident on a London Underground platform last week.

A couple were taken to hospital after texting and driving.

On Friday, 20 December, police officers approached a woman and man who were speaking on a smartphone, which was also in the driver’s hand.

According to the Guardian, when the officers approached the couple, they noticed the man was suffering from a shoulder injury.

Because of this, they slowed down and called 999 while the woman was given directions away from the platform.

However, the officer continued to speed up and pulled into a traffic island in order to give the woman a leg up.

This caused the woman to fall to the ground, breaking her shoulder. She is now in hospital.

Two other officers began to treat the man, who was in a wheel chair, and it was revealed he was in fact texting while driving.

The investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police has been launched and the three officers involved in the incident will be dismissed.

This will not rule out criminal charges either, although the SIU investigation has focused on their fitness to perform their duties.

Further, the officer who struck the couple is part of the Toronto Police services and is part of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates all matters involving police officers in Ontario.

This is the SIU’s 10th investigation in the Toronto police (TSP) and has been a difficult issue for the TPS.

It has launched 12 investigations involving 28 officers for things like assault, bad conduct and theft.

The latest incident this week has resulted in the SIU and the TPS deciding the officer who was driving the car is unfit to perform his duties.

The SIU noted that “much of the explanation as to the officer’s fitness for duty [is] based on their actions when he was seen striking a family walking in a marked TPS cruiser.

“The fact that the officer had a visible shoulder injury during that time is of interest. It may be that at that time he was distracted by the health of the passenger in the car.”

The TPS decided to suspend the officer pending charges on Wednesday.

The TPS released a statement saying: “No one in the police service wants to be in these types of circumstances and no one wants to face charges.”

The TPS adds: “The TPS is monitoring the SIU investigation very closely. If charges do come, we will move swiftly and make a decision and then present the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

The BTP say they will “not tolerate motorists – or anyone else – using their mobile phone while driving, or while using another electronic device at the wheel”.

Although many of these incidents appear to be minor, the TPS are calling on those who are texting and driving to put a stop to it.

“We would urge people to drop their phones in the car and drive at the same time and rely on your instinct and common sense to get the right balance between the driving needs of the road, and keeping your life, or those in your care, safe,” the TPS statement says.

A real worry for drivers who use phones or email during this time of year when there are more events and holidays than usual and it can be tempting to avoid visiting relatives.

Since January, four people have been killed and 10 others injured in crashes involving drivers using phones, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RSPCA) says.

“In 2018 there were 4,682 incidents of drivers talking or texting while driving, up from 3,049 in 2017 and 3,662 in 2016,” said Guy Southwell, road safety spokesman for the RSPCA.

If you have a phone that you need to use during the evening hours, make sure it has a working phone charger, and take up a few minutes to write down the phone number or address of the place you will be visiting.

Stay safe!

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