Police support national campaign against using a mobile phone whilst driving
Police in Suffolk will be targeting drivers who use their phones behind the wheel as part of a two-week long enforcement operation.
The mobile phone campaign, which starts today, Monday 16 March, will run until Sunday 29 March coinciding with a nationwide initiative led by the National Police Chiefs' Council, using the hashtag: #StandingUpForHangingUp.
Officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.
Between 1 January and 31 December last year in Suffolk, officers issued 726 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving.
As of legislation which came into effect in 2017, drivers issued a TOR for this offence will face a minimum six points on their licence and a £200 fine. This has a significant impact for new drivers, as anyone within two years of passing their driving test receiving six penalty points will lose their licence.
Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "Research shows you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.
"If drivers are using their phones they are distracted from the job at hand, meaning they are less likely to be aware of potential hazards and have slower reaction times.
"Driving while using a mobile phone is one of the ‘fatal four’ offences which makes you more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision, along with drink driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.
“This campaign is about targeting irresponsible drivers who pose a danger not only to themselves but to other road users by using a mobile phone at the wheel.
“We will be using this campaign to draw drivers’ attention to the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones whilst enforcing our constant messaging around the ‘fatal four’ offences.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I wholeheartedly support this awareness campaign, which will see a proactive fortnight of increased enforcement across the county.
“Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly, despite increased penalties, we see it all too often. I will look forward to seeing if this week’s campaign shows any obvious sign of improvement.
He added: “I know I have said it before, but the best way to improve safety on our roads is for every driver to remember the fatal four and put your phone out of reach, belt up, watch your speed and don’t drink or take drugs if you are going to drive, that really shouldn’t be so difficult.”
Video footage of a car pulling out in front of a motorbike whilst the driver was using his mobile phone can be seen below: