Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have today begun a fresh push against mobile phone use by drivers, after revealing almost 8,000 drivers were caught during a week-long crackdown in November.
Announced today (23 Jan) by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the November figure of 7,966 mobile phone offences was the highest ever total for a week of enforcement on driver distraction.
More than 7,800 fixed penalty notices were issued as part of the campaign, as well as hundreds of verbal warnings and 68 court summons.
Suzette Davenport, the NPCC’s lead for roads policing, chose to focus on the positives, saying the ‘encouraging results’ show ‘how effective new tactics and innovative approaches can be’.
The NPCC says recent studies show use of mobile phones when driving is widespread and the risks drastically underestimated.
It’s first planned mobile phone enforcement campaign of 2017 will run from today (23 Jan) until Sunday (29 Jan). Throughout this week police forces will run targeted operations and education campaigns, including:
- 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.
Chief constable Suzette Davenport 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.
“Remember: when at the wheel, your calls or texts can wait. Keep your eyes on the road.”
Want to know more about mobile phones and road safety?
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre