Police catch 8000 drivers using mobile phones in just one week - 31/01/2017
A record number of drivers were stopped for using mobile phones while on the move during a concerted police clampdown in November 2016.
British police caught close to 8000 drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel in a clampdown that lasted one week in November. In total, 7966 drivers were found to be on the phone, leading to more than 7800 fixed penalty notices and 68 court summons.
Police stopped 10,012 vehicles, with 117 people charged for being distracted behind the wheel for offences such as eating while driving. Police said the record-high numbers were achieved thanks to the use of new policing techniques that included unmarked vans and motorbike-mounted police wearing helmet cameras.
So-called community spotters are also providing police with the locations of offence hotspots ahead of a new weeklong clampdown that has started today.
“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,” said chief constable Suzette Davenport, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council's boss for roads policing.
“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.”
Before last November, the most successful recent week-long police clampdown caught 2690 drivers using phones behind the wheel.
Use of a hand-held mobile phone device while driving any vehicle has been illegal since 2003. Current punishments for being caught include three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. You could also go to court and be disqualified from driving and get a maximum fine of £1000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2500.
However, from 1 March the fixed penalty for the offence will increase from three to six for all drivers and the fine will double to £200.