Suffolk Police are supporting a national campaign to crack down on drivers using phones while at the wheel.
The Mobile Phone Campaign, will run until Sunday 27th February, coinciding with a nationwide #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
The aim of the campaign is to change the behaviour of drivers and highlight the consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving. This does not only refer to those making calls, but also those who may be checking texts, emails or those scrolling through social media.
As part of the campaign officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.
Drivers committing this offence will automatically receive six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine. For new drivers (those driving for less than two years) they could have their licence taken off them.
Motorists can also be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention for using their phone when behind the wheel, particularly if caught filming, watching videos or taking pictures for example.
Between February 2021 and January 2022 Suffolk Police issued 125 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to motorists caught using a mobile phone whilst driving.
Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Driving whilst using a mobile is extremely dangerous and one of the four main contributory factors of fatal or serious collision. Others include not wearing a seatbelt, speeding or drink or drug driving.
“Using your phone while driving also means you are less likely to notice or react to hazards and causes poor lane discipline.
“Whilst we tackle these offences all year round, awareness campaigns like this are a great opportunity to dedicate extra resources across road networks in both counties, in order to clamp down on these drivers who pose a risk.
“Whoever you are calling, texting or replying to would not want to compromise your safety or the safety of other road users. If you know you could be tempted to reply, leave your phone in the glove compartment or better, switch it off.
“No matter what your driving ability, glancing down at your phone means you are not aware of what is happening around you. It only takes a second for circumstances to change and for you to be involved in a collision, either with another road user, or a pedestrian.”
“Also, a common misconception is that a handsfree device is a safe option. We have seen that this can be equally as distracting.
“We all have a responsibility to keep our roads safe and we are urging drivers to think twice and don’t be tempted to use your phone whilst driving. It is not worth the risk.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police Crime and Commissioner, added: “I wholeheartedly support the #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign.
“Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly, despite risks and the fines, we still see it all too often.
“I know I have said it before, but the best way to improve safety on our roads is for every driver to remember the fatal four and put your phone out of reach, belt up, watch your speed and don’t drink or take drugs if you are going to drive, that really shouldn’t be so difficult.”
For safety messages and updates throughout the campaign please visit the Suffolk Police Facebook and Twitter accounts or visit @NSRAPT using the hashtag #StandingUpForHangingUp