Police forces this week are cracking down on mobile phone use by drivers in targeted operations to stop drivers from using handheld phones while driving.
- 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' messages
- pilot schemes with community spotters to target repeat offenders,
- release of powerful social media videos and messages to warn and inform.
This is the second, co-ordinated national week of action against drivers using mobile phones.
The first, in May of this year resulted in 2,323 offences detected across the week. Similar campaigns have also targeted mobile phones, including Operation Tramline across 25 forces which targeted HGV drivers and resulted in 1713 offences recorded between April 2015 and July 2016.
A recent 2016 annual report on motoring by the RAC suggests the number of motorists who illegally use mobile phones is rising with 31 per cent of motorists admitting to using a handheld phone while driving up from 4 per cent in 2014. 19 per cent say they have sent a message or posted on social media from behind the wheel, indicating that the risks are dangerously underestimated.
National Police Chiefs' Council lead for roads policing, chief constable Suzette Davenport said: "Forces are coming together this week with innovative approaches to catching those driving when distracted and campaign to make drivers think twice about using their mobiles at the wheel.
"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."