The Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police Alliance Roads Policing Team is taking part in the first of a series of national enforcement campaigns cracking down on people who use their phones when driving, in advance of changes to legislation on mobile phone offences to come in March 2017.
During the week-long campaign, running from Monday 23 January to Sunday 29 January 2017, offenders will be reminded of the dangers of being distracted at the wheel, and of the upcoming legislative changes.
Motorists caught using a mobile phone are currently given three penalty points and a minimum fine of £100. Under the new rules, which are anticipated to come into effect on 1 March 2017, drivers can expect to receive stiffer penalties with six points on their licence and a £200 fine.
These changes will have a significant impact on young motorists who offend, who risk having their licence revoked following a first offence. More experienced drivers also risk going to court if they offend twice, with a possible fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban of at least six months.
Inspector Peter Thomas from the Alliance Roads Policing Team said: “It has been illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, or while stationary with the engine running, since December 2003. However, many motorists still fail to understand that it is simply not possible to use a phone and be in proper control of a vehicle at the same time.
“This operation comes in advance of changes in legislation this year which, if you are caught using a mobile device inappropriately while driving, mean that penalties for doing so will be tougher, and deservedly so.
“It should be very clear to drivers who take a risk with their own safety and that of other road users by using a mobile device while driving that neither the police nor the public will tolerate such behaviour.”
A report published by the RAC in September 2016 stated that 31 per cent of drivers now admit to using a mobile phone when driving, up from eight per cent from 2014.
Inspector Thomas continued: “Drivers need to get the message that using a mobile phone when driving is as unacceptable as drink or drug driving or not wearing a seatbelt.
“Texting, scanning a newsfeed or streaming video content can wait until your journey is over. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of road users around you.”
“The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.”
More information about the law on using a mobile device while driving, and about the potentially devastating effects of driving if distracted, can be found on the Devon and Cornwall Police website here, where you will also find links to the full current legislation on the gov.uk website: https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/on-the-road/driving-while-using-a-mobile-device/
Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News