Police crackdown on mobile phone use behind the wheel

Police crackdown on mobile phone use behind the wheel
Police across England and Wales have begun a week of operations to stop drivers using their mobile phones.

The crackdown comes shortly after Government plans to introduce harsher punishments to drivers caught using their phone were announced.

These new plans will see offending drivers receiving six points on their licence rather than three, while on-the-spot fines will double from £100 to £200. There are also plans to remove remedial courses, meaning drivers will no longer be able to stop getting points on their licence.

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The week-long crackdown, which started on Monday, is being led by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC). Operations include:

  • Dedicated patrols by officers using unmarked vans, helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and high vantage points to catch offenders.
  • Combined shifts with police officers and paramedics to educate people on the risks.
  • Use of variable message signs on prime commuter routes to display 'Leave Your Phone Alone' message.
  • Pilot schemes with community spotters to target repeat offenders.
  • Release of powerful social media videos and messages to warn and inform. 

NPCC’s Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said: "Tackling mobile phone use by drivers requires police enforcement using new technology and tactics to maximise the numbers of people we can stop, combined with strong effective penalties and creative national campaigns to make driving distracted as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

"When you're getting in your car, remember don't put others at risk - keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel."

This is the second week of operations to tackle mobile phone use this year. In May, a similar initiative was run and 2,323 offences were detected.

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In the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016 study, 48% of motorists admitted to using a mobile phone behind the wheel in the past year.

With mobile phone distractions causing 440 accidents in Britain over the same period, it’s hoped that this week of operations, and the new proposed punishments from the Government, will deter drivers from using their phone.

The campaign will run from  Monday November 14 through to Sunday November 21. For more information about the week’s operations, visit the NPCC site.

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