This week police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will begin a fresh operational push against mobile phone use by drivers.
The campaign runs from today (Monday 23 January – Sunday 29 January).CFOA and many fire and rescue services will be supporting this campaign. Fire services respond to thousands of road traffic accidents every year and hope this campaign will encourage people to change their behaviour and prevent many of these incidents happening in the future.
This latest campaign follows an earlier one in November 2016 in which 36 police forces took part.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have today announced that in that week long campaign in November 10,012 vehicles were stopped. This resulted in 7,800 fixed penalty notices, 689 court summons and hundreds of verbal warnings. 117 other driving distraction offences such as eating while driving were also identified.
Throughout this campaign week police forces will run targeted operations and education campaigns.
targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders;
partnership with local authorities and emergency services to deter people from taking the risks;
innovative digital campaigns to communicate that the risks are more serious than people think;
Community ‘spotters’ to highlight hotspots and report repeat offenders to police
Advising the public about changes to penalties for mobile phone use by driving from 1 March 2017
Recent studies show the use of mobile phones when driving is widespread and the risks drastically underestimated.
Chief constable Suzette Davenport, the NPCC’s lead for roads policing said: “This week forces will be working to make driving distracted as socially unacceptable as drink driving through enforcing strong deterrents and powerful messages to make people think twice about their driving habits.
“Encouraging results from last year’s campaign against mobile phone use show how effective new tactics and innovative approaches can be. Officers will continue to use intelligence-led tactics to target police activity and resources and catch repeat offenders.
“Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.
At the moment drivers in England, Scotland and Wales risk three penalty point and a £100 fine is caught using a phone behind the wheel. But this is due to increase to six penalty points and £200 fine later in 2017. Additionally newly qualified drivers could be made to resit their driving test and experienced drivers could go to court if they offend twice, which could result in £1000 fine and a six-month driving ban.
Look out for the following hashtags on social media to support this campaign #ItCanWait and #EyesOnTheRoad