THE city’s safety leader has been fined for driving on a busy Capital road while using his mobile phone.
Councillor Cammy Day, a Labour candidate for next year’s general election, was caught by police handling his phone while driving through the Cowgate.
Officers spotted the Forth Ward councillor illegally using his phone at the wheel but – after failing to pay the fine – the case escalated to the Justice of the Peace Court in Edinburgh where sentence was handed down in October.
Having a clean record, Cllr Day received three penalty points on his licence and a £100 fine.
The Capital’s community safety leader was snared by police just three months before being selected by his party to run for a Westminster seat representing Edinburgh West.
Road safety campaigners have condemned the councillor’s actions but said they hoped the publicity might deter others from making the same mistake.
Speaking to the News, Cllr Day apologised for the “error” and said he accepted his punishment.
He said: “The charges were having a phone in my hand.
“What I did, and I discussed this with the police which I am not challenging at all, was remove my mobile phone from the inside door panel of my car, look at it and put it into a holder where the gear stick is.
“But because I had it in my hand, and effectively I was using it, that was the charge.”
Asked why he failed to pay the initial fine within the 28-day time frame, he said: “I missed the deadline which is my fault and I accept my standards slipped and it was my error.
“I made a genuine mistake and a slip-up in my standards and accept the punishment from the Justice of the Peace.”
Cllr Day insisted the offence would not impact on his campaign and described the event as a “non-story”.
He said he had informed the Edinburgh West Labour Party and council leader Andrew Burns – a Labour member – about the charges against him.
The News approached both parties but neither were willing to comment on the incident.
But Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “Many people who would not dream of drink-driving have used a mobile phone at the wheel, but doing so reduces your reaction times just as much.”
Ian Maxwell, of cycling pressure group Spokes, said enforcement played a “vital part” in highlighting that driving while using a mobile is “dangerous”.
He said: “The publicity surrounding someone of this position hopefully will spread the message quite widely that it is not a good thing to mix driving with phoning or texting.”
MAXIMUM FINE TOTALS £1500
PENALTIES for driving while using a mobile phone can be severe, with the maximum fine peaking at £1500 and the prospect of a driving ban.
The law states that it is illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using handheld phones or similar devices, even if stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
If caught, police automatically issue a fixed penalty notice.