National enforcement campaign against motorists using mobile phones begins

23 January 2017
Dorset Police is working with police forces nationally in the first of a series of enforcement campaigns to crackdown on those who use their phones when driving.

During the week-long campaign, which will run from Monday 23 January to Sunday 29 January 2017, offenders will be reminded of the dangers of being distracted at the wheel, and the upcoming legislative changes on mobile phone offences.

Motorists caught using a mobile phone are currently given three penalty points and a minimum fine of £100. Under the new rules, which are to anticipated to come into effect on 1 March 2017, drivers can expect to receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine.

These changes, which will apply to England, Scotland and Wales, will have a significant impact on young motorists, who risk having their licence revoked following a first offence. More experienced drivers also risk going to court if they offend twice, with a possible fine of up to £1,000 and at least a six-month driving ban. 

Inspector Matt Butler, from the Alliance Roads Policing department, said: “It has been illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving or riding a motorcycle since December 2003. However, many motorists still fail to see that it is not possible to use a phone and be in proper control of a vehicle.

“Whatever the reason for using a mobile device when driving – texting, scanning a newsfeed or streaming video content – it can wait until your journey is over. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of road users around you.”

A report published by the RAC in September 2016 stated that 31 per cent of drivers now admit to using a mobile phone when driving, up from eight per cent in 2014.

Inspector Butler continued: “While enforcement takes place all year round, recent findings underline the importance of campaigns that aim to make using a mobile phone when driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving. 

“It is plausible that the percentage of motorists who use their mobile phone at the wheel is even higher than the research suggests, which is why enforcement efforts must be supported by changes in drivers’ attitudes if we are to succeed in keeping our roads safe.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “A licence to drive can be lethal in the wrong hands. Police officers cannot be everywhere and the responsibility to drive safely should not be dependent on the risk of being caught. 

“All motorists have a fundamental responsibility to behave with due care and attention, drive safely and ensure they do not put themselves or others in danger.”
 
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