Police warn motorists ahead of mobile phone crackdown

Thames Valley Police has launched a crackdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving.

Officers will be targeting drivers who use their mobile phones without a hands-free kit throughout the week, starting today.

The targeted campaign lasts until Sunday and Sgt Chris Appleby, from the Joint Roads Policing Department, said it should serve as an example of the ‘determination and continuous commitment of Thames Valley Police to tackle the illegal use of mobile phones by drivers in our communities’.

“Drivers who choose to break the law will be prosecuted,” he said.

“The purpose of the campaign is to draw drivers’ attention to not only the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a vehicle, but the serious penalties which they will face if they are caught.

“Driving ability is clearly impaired by using a mobile phone and the offence remains one of Thames Valley’s fatal four offences requiring concentrated enforcement action.

“Studies have found that talking on a hand-held mobile phone can impair driving even more than driving above the drink-drive limit. During the period 2009-2014, national casualty data shows that 3,611 reported collisions occurred where at least one driver was using a mobile phone, although this is likely to be significantly under-recorded.

“During a 2014 survey in England and Scotland, 1.6 per cent of car drivers were observed using a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Furthermore the 2013 Think! annual survey found that four in ten motorists knew people who practiced dangerous driving behaviours with mobile phones.

“You can get a fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving or riding.

“You can expect to be prosecuted, and that might be a day-long course you pay for, a £100 fixed penalty and three points, or a trip to explain your behaviour to the magistrates who can fine you up to £2,500, give you three points and/or disqualify you from driving.”