Police in Manchester have launched a ‘major operation’ to catch motorists who disregard the safety of other road users by using a mobile phone.
The operation, which falls under the Force’s #wrongfortheroad campaign, has seen officers targeting the main routes around Greater Manchester to enforce the law and educate drivers on the dangers of using a mobile while behind the wheel.
Chief constable Ian Hopkins from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) says using a mobile phone while driving ‘is as bad as drink driving’.
Officers have been using undercover and marked police vehicles in an operation which is set continue up to Christmas.
In the first week, 142 people were stopped for using a phone and a further four reprimanded for not being in proper control of a vehicle. This included one driver who was eating cereal while driving along Manchester Road in Hyde.
Superintendent Craig Thompson said: “Last week was just the beginning of our focus on these offences, and sends a clear message to anyone using a mobile phone while driving – it will absolutely not be tolerated here in Greater Manchester and it must stop.
“As Chief Constable Hopkins said last week, it is time for drivers to take personal responsibility for what they do when in charge of a vehicle. You wouldn’t drink and drive so why is it OK to use a phone when in control of a vehicle? We can all make a difference by urging people to think about their actions.”
More than 5,000 drivers in Greater Manchester have been given fixed penalty notices or sent on a mobile phone awareness course in the past two years, and traffic officers believe those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
GMP will also be raising awareness of the issue through social media by using the hashtag #wrongfortheroad and is calling on drivers to consider what they are doing.