Police in Hampshire and Thames Valley are drawing attention to the risks posed by distracted driving as part of efforts to support this week’s nationwide mobile phone enforcement campaign.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) campaign, which got underway yesterday (22 Jan), is seeing officers conduct targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders.
Hampshire and Thames Valley Police are using the tragic story of Ion Calin and his friend and work colleague, Marian Olteanu, who were killed when a lorry hit their stationary car in December 2015. The lorry driver was using his mobile phone at the time.
Ion and Marian’s families hope the story will raise awareness of the devastating consequences of driving while using a mobile phone – and also encourage those who continue to text, surf the web and use apps behind the wheel, to stop.
Sergeant Rob Heard, from the Roads Policing Joint Operations Unit for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, said: “We are still seeing too many people deciding to take that risk to use their mobile phone whilst driving, whether looking at a text, making and receiving calls or even surfing the internet.
“Doing any of these will clearly impair and distract your ability to drive a vehicle safely.
“Research has shown that talking on a mobile phone can impair your ability to drive more than if you were driving whilst over the drink drive limit.
“You are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision texting as drink driving. You are much less aware of what’s happening around you and fail to see road signs, maintain a proper lane position or a steady speed.
“Drivers end up feeling more stressed and frustrated and are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front or enter unsafe gaps in traffic.”