Police forces across the country have begun a new push on drivers’ mobile phone use after catching a record number of offenders in their last crackdown.
The November 2016 campaign, in which 36 police forces took part, saw 10,012 vehicles stopped, with 7,966 mobile phone offences detected, the highest ever total for a week of enforcement on ‘distraction driving’.
Police detected nearly 8,000 mobile phone offences in a week
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said more than 7,800 fixed penalty notices were issued, as well as 68 court summonses, with hundreds of verbal warnings given.
A campaign in May 2016 saw only 2,418 vehicles stopped, with 2,323 mobile phone offences and 95 other distraction offences detected.
Chief constable Suzette Davenport, NPCC lead for roads policing, 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.’
She added: ‘Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.'
The first mobile phone campaign of the year will run from Monday (23 January) to Sunday (29 January). Operations include:
- 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 repeat offenders to police
- advising the public about changes to penalties for mobile phone use by driving from 1 March 2017