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.

Government to enforce zero-tolerance policy for drivers using mobile phones

“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.

Why you shouldn’t use your phone when 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.

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Comments
7

23 January 2017
these people who talk on the phone while driving should be made to clean public toilets with just a toothbrush.
Red Devil

23 January 2017
Every time this issue comes up, I cannot fathom why so many drivers still don't use Bluetooth connection for their conversations whilst driving. I even see the drivers of expensive new cars, where Bluetooth will be standard, with a handheld mobile clamped to their head! Why? Of course it's better not to hold phone conversations when driving, but at least it's still legal and two hands are available to drive the car.

23 January 2017
Just mount your phone and put it on speaker. As long as it isnt held in your hand its alright.

23 January 2017
I have hands free Bluetooth fitted to my car but for the life of me I cannot drive and hold a phone conversation at the same time. I have to deal with an incoming call by not answering it, stopping the car and calling back. And no funny remarks about men not being able to multi-task - no-one can. Phone calls and driving do not mix in my view.

23 January 2017
L320 wrote:

Phone calls and driving do not mix in my view.

Couldn't agree more. No-one should be using a phone, hands-free or not, when they're in control of a vehicle. Having a conversation with someone who can't appreciate exactly what you're doing can demand far more concentration than with someone actually in the vehicle, or the radio, or music..... its common sense. I don't understand why any phone call is so important that it can't wait a few minutes until you can safely pull over.

23 January 2017
Absolutely spot on L320. At times I have been on the 'phone hands free and missed the freeway exit or made a bad decision etc.
Now I do as you do. My son-in-law's employer bans any in-car(moving) 'phone use in company vehicles due to the above and also duty of care.

23 January 2017
Generally I don't use the phone in the car at all, but sometimes its useful. I would never get into complex conversations or chit chat when driving but sometimes a quick "I'm driving, I'll be 15 minutes late. Bye" call with the phone mounted / voice dialled can be very courteous. On some roads you can pull over, but on others, voice dialling whilst moving is much easier.

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