Week of enforcement action begins in Northamptonshire against motorists who use phones while driving

Reports from the Department for Transport showed 32 people were killed during 2016 in road traffic collisions where the driver was using their mobile phone.
Reports from the Department for Transport showed 32 people were killed during 2016 in road traffic collisions where the driver was using their mobile phone.

Motorists who risk lives by using hand-held mobile phones behind the wheel will be targeted by Northamptonshire Police during a week of enforcement action.

Between today and Sunday, January 28, Northamptonshire Police is taking part in a national operation to target this offence and educate drivers about the risks and penalties it carries.

These doubled in March last year to six points and a £200 fine, with those caught within two years of passing their driving test automatically disqualified.

PC David Lee of the Safer Roads Team said: “Driver distraction is a major cause of road traffic collisions, and even glancing at a mobile phone means taking your eyes off the road and risking a crash.

“We want to make using a hand-held phone while driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving, and are asking people to get into the habit of putting their phone completely away when they get in the car. If it’s in the glove box or turned off you know it can’t accidentally distract you – no call or text is so urgent it’s worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else.”

Between the introduction of the increased penalties on March 1, 2017, and December 31, Northamptonshire Police issued 231 fixed penalty notices for mobile phone offences, with 81 people taken to court.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said: “Nearly a year on from legislation to toughen the sanctions for using a phone at the wheel, we are seeing some change in driver behaviour but there are still too many people underestimating the risk they take.

“If you glance at a phone for even 2.3 seconds while driving at 30mph you miss 100ft of road. That is the equivalent to the length of Boeing 737.

“Drivers, put safety first and keep your eyes on the road. If you do use your phone at the wheel, don't be surprised to be stopped by police and to receive a fine and points on your licence.”

Using a mobile phone while driving:

- By law, the only time you can use a hand-held mobile phone while driving is to call 999 in an emergency. Otherwise you must be safely parked – this does not include being stopped in traffic, or waiting at traffic lights. You also must not use a hand-held phone if you are supervising a learner driver.

- Hands-free kits are allowed by law but they can still be a distraction. If a police officer thinks you are not in proper control of a vehicle this can also be an offence.

- Read more about mobile phone offences and penalties here: www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law