West Yorkshire Police is supporting the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) & THINK! campaign, highlighting the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.
New legislation is due to come in to force in March 2017, which makes significant changes to the penalties faced by motorists who continue to be distracted by a mobile phone.
Presently, drivers stopped while using a mobile phone are issued with 3 points and a £100 fine or they may be eligible to take part in a driver improvement programme.
Under the new legislation, offenders will receive 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. There will not be any option to take part in any driver improvement course.
The NPCC campaign was from January 23 – January 29 and the THINK! campaign started in January and runs until the end of March.
Sergeant Gary Roper of the West Yorkshire Police Roads Policing Support Unit said; “Targeting motorists who use a mobile phone continues to be a priority for our roads policing teams and something we concentrating on with the imminent change in legislation increasing the penalties for offenders.
‘‘The law banning the use of mobile phones while driving has been in place for well over a decade now but we are still seeing thousands of people each year flouting the law and endangering not only themselves but other road users as well.
‘‘The risks associated with using a phone while behind the wheel are very clear. Any driver will be distracted by a phone call or text message, it affects the ability to concentrate and anticipate the road ahead, putting the driver and other road users at risk
“We are also seeing a growing trend of motorists updating social media, streaming music or video’s, checking emails and generally surfing the internet whilst also being in control of a vehicle. This is really concerning, as research has shown that driving while using a phone makes you four times more likely to be involved in a collision and studies by the Transport Research Laboratory suggest that using a hand-held mobile while driving can be more dangerous than drink-driving.”
If you are convicted of driving carelessly or dangerously while using a hand-held phone you can be disqualified from driving, receive a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.
Drivers are also been warned that they are still at risk of prosecution for failing to have proper control of their vehicle or for careless or reckless driving whilst using a hands-free phone whilst driving .
“It is important to remember that if your car is not safely parked, with the engine switched off and you are using a hand-held mobile you are breaking the law and your actions have the clear potential to endanger your life and those of other road users. The same rules apply if you’re waiting at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
‘‘Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the sight of people driving along while holding and talking on their mobile phones. This is not about penalising motorists it’s about keeping the roads safer for all of us, Missing a call won’t kill you – a collision quite possibly could.” added Sergeant Roper.
It is illegal to use a mobile phone, held in the hand, whilst driving or while stopped with the engine on. It has been illegal since December 2003.
9206 offences have been recorded by West Yorkshire Police in the last three years; 2785 in 2014, 2790 in 2015 and 3631 in 2016.
Figures published by the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016 (released September 2016) declared that the number of drivers who own up to using a hand-held mobile phone has increased from 8% in 2014, to 31%. With an rise in drivers sending a text, email or posting on social media, with the figure increasing from 7% to 9%.

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