Police forces across England and Wales are redoubling their efforts to catch drivers using mobile phones under a week-long campaign from today.
Coordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the campaign will see officers running targeted patrols with marked and unmarked vehicles and using high vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders.
A similar operation in July 2017 saw more than 8,000 drivers stopped and 2,595 offences detected.
In March 2017, the penalties for drivers using a mobile handset doubled to a £200 fine and six penalty points, with RAC research indicating that around 11% fewer drivers were stopped in the three months post-legislation than in the preceding three months.
National Police Chiefs’ council lead for roads policing, chief constable Anthony Bangham said: “If you glance at a phone for even 2.3 seconds while driving at 30mph you miss 100ft of road. That is the equivalent to the length of Boeing 737.”
The news of this week’s crackdown was welcomed by Brake but the organisation said that a more concerted and long-term police enforcement effort was needed to ensure offenders are caught.
Brake also called for the Government to legislate against hands-free phone use while driving.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, commented: “Shockingly, research has shown that hands-free calls cause almost the same level of risk whilst driving as hand-held – last year a driver using a hands-free device was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. Brake urges government to regulate against hands-free phone use at the wheel, ridding our roads of the menace of distracted driving.”
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