‘Community spotters’ call over drivers using phones

‘Community spotters’ call over drivers using phones
'Road safety spotters' are being asked to report drivers seen using mobile phones illegally behind the wheel.

The call comes during a week of operations coordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) that aims to stop drivers using their phones.  

The pilot ‘community spotters’ scheme will target repeat offenders. The spotters are drawn from community bodies and local stakeholders, these include the Fire & Rescue service and the Institute of Advanced Motoring.

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The idea is one of several being rolled out during the week with unmarked vans and helmet cameras also being used as deterrents. 

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RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: "While this is an unusual initiative, desperate times call for desperate measures.

"We know the use of handheld mobile phones at the wheel is at epidemic proportions and imaginative ways of tackling the problem are clearly needed. It is, of course, paramount that any such scheme needs to be very carefully managed.

"Police resources are stretched as a result of 27% reduction in roads police officers in the last five years so the chances of being caught for any motoring offence are dramatically lower. In order to stamp out handheld phone use while driving a major change in behaviour needs to take place so maybe schemes like this will help to bring that about."

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In May, a similar week-long crackdown on mobile phone use behind the wheel detected 2,323 offences.

After new government proposals were announced to double fines and points for drivers caught using a phone, it is hoped this second week of action can help to bring about a change drivers’ attitudes.

The past 2 years have seen a significant rise in mobile phone use among drivers. An RAC survey carried out this year found 31% of drivers admit using a handheld phone behind the wheel compared with 8% in 2014

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.