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Police forces co-ordinating week-long operations to enforce new penalties for mobile phone use at the wheel

01 Mar 2017

As well as running targeted operations across the week, police are helping to raise awareness of the new penalties for this offence which come into force today.

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Drivers caught using their mobiles will now be subject to a £200 fine and six points on their licence.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales are participating in the week of enforcement action against this offence, following a similar campaign in January which stopped 5,614 vehicles and detected 3,844 mobile phone offences.

Police are working with the Department of Transport and motoring charities to ensure that this stronger deterrent is accompanied by campaigns to change driver attitudes.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said:

“These new penalties reflect the seriousness of the offence and will strengthen the deterrent against using a mobile phone at the wheel. We need people to understand that this is not a minor offence that they can get away with.

“Across this week officers will continue to use innovative and intelligence-led tactics to catch and penalise people who are driving while distracted by a mobile phone. However, this is an attitudinal problem that we cannot simply enforce away by putting more officers on the roads.

“This issue has to begin with personal responsibility by drivers. We know that people are more likely to report other drivers using a phone than to view themselves as guilty of it. That has to change.

“Tougher penalties are a step in the right direction, but police forces and partners are working this week to make it socially unacceptable to use a mobile phone at the wheel. It’s about more than what you might have to pay as a penalty – you could hurt or kill an innocent person on the roads by checking a text or taking a call.

“Don’t do it – and don’t let others take the risk either.”

Notes to editors:

Research from the RAC has previously shown that motorists express frustration with other drivers using mobile phones, yet almost half admit to doing it themselves.

Similarly, a survey by the NPCC in January showed that 53 per cent of drivers we contacted said they never use a mobile phone while driving, yet 84 per cent report frequently seeing other drivers doing so.

Operations this week include:

  • targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high mobile vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders;
  • partnership with local authorities, agencies, and emergency services to deter people from taking the risks;
  • community ‘spotters’ to highlight hotspots and repeat offenders to police;
  • innovative digital campaigns to communicate that the risks are more serious than people think, including the RAC PhoneSmart website;
  • sharing material from Department for Transport and THINK! to raise awareness of the new penalties.

Follow police activity with the hashtags #itcanwait #eyesontheroad and the RAC campaign with #BePhoneSmart and @BePhoneSmart

CC Davenport is unfortunately not available for interview.

Previous campaign results:

 

May-15

Sep-15

May-16

Nov-16

Jan-17

Total number of vehicles stopped

3,194

3,107

2,418

10,012

5,614

Mobile phone offences detected

2,690

2,276

2,323

7,966

3,664

Other distraction offences detected

164

113

95

117

180

Total number of offences

2,854

2,389

2,418

8,083

3,844