NPCC runs week of mobile phone enforcement and education

12.00 | 14 November 2016 | | 3 comments

Police forces across the UK participated in a crackdown on illegal mobile phone use by drivers, in a series of targeted operations to prosecute offenders and drive home the risks and consequences of distracted driving.

Led by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), the campaign ran 14-21 November.

The campaign comprised a combination of enforcement and education, with dedicated patrols by officers using unmarked vans, helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and high vantage points to catch offenders, and partnership working between police and paramedics to educate people of the risks.

The campaign also saw the use of variable message signs on prime commuter routes to display the message ‘Leave Your Phone Alone’, a pilot schemes with ‘community spotters’ to target repeat offenders and the use of social media videos and messages.

This was the second national week of action against drivers using mobile phones during 2016, with the first (in May) resulting in 2,323 offences detected.

Since then, the issue of illegal mobile phone usage by drivers has featured heavily in the media spotlight.

In September, the RAC claimed the illegal use of handheld mobile phones is at ‘epidemic proportions’, on the back of research which suggests 11m motorists admitted to making or receiving a call while driving in the last 12 months.

After months of speculation, the Government last week finally confirmed it is planning to double the penalties for those caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Announced on 8 November as part of a response into a consultation on the issue, the move means that those found committing the offence will be docked six points and receive a £200 fine.

Following the campaign, the NPCC will publish figures showing how many offences were detected across the country.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport, NPCC lead for roads policing, said: “Forces are coming together this week with innovative approaches to catching those driving when distracted, 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.”



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    Charles, what world do you live in? At traffic lights or traffic jams with the parking brake set and the engine off? My experience is quite different as I always end up behind a car that is showing all brake lights, usually glaring at me in wet weather and causing me to look elsewhere. The mere fact that they have the foot brake on means that the engine is running, verified by exhaust noise and gasses, the car is in gear as they wait minute after minute for the lights to change and the hand brake is off and nowhere near the drivers hand and hasn’t been used since he parked it up on the last double yellow lines.

    So they are sitting there confortably in gear with just foot brake on, in gear and ready to start off (perhaps) their concentration being on their phone or other similar instrument.

    I know that the Highway Code does make mention of stopping as you have described but I would say that some 90% plus of drivers do not do as you describe. Perhaps they should or could be issued with an up to date copy of the Highway Code by a police officer free of charge and told to look at it carefully.

    That would not be a bad idea, reminding them that it still exists since they last saw one decades ago.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    The police cracking down on illegal mobile phone use is one thing, but for them to also be claiming to be educating people of the risk is very worrying. I wonder what training is given to those who are tasked with delivering this “education”. I hope they aren’t confusing or conflating “illegal” and “dangerous” – that something is illegal does not automatically imply that it is dangerous, it just means that the politicians saw a political need to make the law.

    I wonder how they explain why it is dangerous to use a phone in a stationary car, with the parking brake set and with the engine off – whilst stopped in a traffic jam or at red lights for example. I wonder what weight they give to the risk compensation argument that might suggest that drivers on the phone drive slower and take more care to compensate. I wonder if they discuss reports comparing US states with and without phone laws and the apparent phenomena that there are less crashes in the states without the laws.

    Let’s hope it is balanced “education” that they are imparting and not just one-sided and biased spin.

    Charles, England
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    Again a commendable approach.

    However, with some 41 Constabularies caching 2,323 offenders in 7 days’ equals about 8 a day per force.

    Hardly a crackdown. I could sit in the office and look out the window and see more per hour.

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