West Mercia Police stop 48 motorists in crack down on drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel

In the 72 hours since the start of the national crackdown week (22 Jan – 28 Jan) on people using their mobile phone while driving, West Mercia Police officers have been out targeting those breaking the law. West Mercia Police stopped 48 motorists in the last three days and these numbers are likely to increase by the end of the operation on Sunday evening.

Each motorist stopped received six points on their licence and a £200 fine. They will have been reminded by the officers why they were stopped and why using their phone is so dangerous, and illegal.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, said: “Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm. We are making use of the tougher penalties to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour – but we have to be clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert. It’s concerning that we still have drivers out there who are willing to risk driving whilst distracted and it is a year round commitment for us to challenge this behaviour across West Mercia.”

It’s nearly a year (March 2017) since new legislation was introduced, increasing both the fine and licence points if caught using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. Drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban – which could also then lead to a £1,000 fine. While new drivers – those who have passed within the last two years – could have their licence revoked if caught just once. Since March 2017, 1,268 drivers in West Mercia have been caught using their mobile phone whilst at the wheel.

The Department for Transport launched a new national campaign under the THINK! Banner late last year toward the end of October asking drivers to put their phones away by highlighting just what you miss when you glance at your phone http://think.direct.gov.uk/mobile-phones.html The campaign highlights that it only takes a few seconds of distraction to change lives forever. It urges Android smartphone users to download the Car Mode app or if using an iPhone, it’s drive safe mode, which automatically detects when you’re driving, and silences incoming calls and messages.

Superintendent Paul Moxley who is overseeing the operation this week said: “This is some fine work by our officers targeting those putting, not just themselves, but other people at serious risk of injury and potentially far worse. The hope is this deters such reckless driving and means, in the future people will put their phones in their glove box or bag – and never drive distracted.”

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