Driving instructor cleared of using phone during lesson on first day of tougher laws
- Credit: Archant
A driving instructor has been cleared of using her mobile phone while supervising a learner driver on the first day that tougher laws were brought in.
Rebecca Radbourne, 41, of Willow Road, Scarning, near Dereham, was supervising Claudia Maranu, 30, during a driving lesson at 10am on March 1 2017 when PC Shaun Turner alleged that he saw her looking down at her phone in the passenger seat of a green Citroen C3 on Aylsham Road, Norwich.
The police officer, who was taking part in an exercise to enforce tougher laws on mobile phone use brought in that day, approached the vehicle while it was stationary at traffic lights and tapped on the window to tell Radbourne that she was committing an offence.
Radbourne denied using a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver and was found not guilty by Norwich magistrates,
Giving evidence in court, PC Turner said: 'I could see the driver was looking down at her phone in her right hand. The screen was illuminated and in her left hand was a drink.
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'When I tapped on the window she spilled some of the drink on her hand and dropped the phone at the same time.'
He then notified his colleague further up the road of the offence, who issued the fine to Ms Radbourne.
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But the defendant, who has been a driving instructor for 13 years with no prior convictions, disputed the policeman's report and said at no point had she been using her phone.
She said: 'The phone was in the central console. The student braked heavily and the phone fell onto the dual controls so I picked it up and held it between my leg and the door.'
She also claimed that at no point could she have been using the phone because she was checking her blindspot as Ms Maranu attempted to merge with oncoming traffic.
Radbourne said that she and Ms Maranau 'jumped out of their skins' when the officer tapped his fist on the window and thought that they had been hit by a motorbike.
The instructor's account was supported by Ms Maranau, who appeared in court as a witness.
When asked how certain she was that her instructor was not using her phone, Ms Maranau said: 'I was paying attention to the road so I would say nine out of 10 sure.'
Radbourne: 'I wouldn't be here if I wasn't 100 per cent sure I wasn't using my phone - I would have just taken the points.'