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Northumbria Police joins national campaign

A national campaign has started today to tackle mobile phone use while driving. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
A national campaign has started today to tackle mobile phone use while driving. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Northumbria Police is participating in a National Police Chief Council-led campaign to tackle mobile phone use while driving.

The initiative, running from today to Sunday, January 28, is a follow up to the July 2017 campaign when nationally 2,509 mobile phone offences were detected with 8,358 motorists being stopped.

New legislation came into effect on March 1, 2017, and under the new law drivers will receive six points on their license and a £200 fine.

Inspector Dean Hood, of Operation Dragoon, said: “Despite the law change it is evident that motorists are still willing to risk using mobile phones while driving.

“A worrying shift in attitudes to mobile phones being used behind the wheel needs to be addressed to ensure motorists fully understand the consequences and dangers.”

According to findings published by the RAC’s Report on Motoring (September 2016), the number of drivers who own up to using a handheld mobile phone has increased from eight per cent in 2014 to 31 per cent. Additionally, there has been a rise in drivers sending a text, email or posting on social media, with the figure increasing from seven per cent to 19 per cent.

During the campaign, Northumbria Police will be:

○ Targeting irresponsible and dangerous drivers in a bid to improve road safety.

○ Draw drivers’ attention to the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a vehicle.

○ Address the alarming rise in the number of people making calls, texting and recording videos illegally when they should be paying attention to the road.

○ Highlighting to the public that illegal phone use whilst driving is as unacceptable as drink/drug driving or not wearing a seatbelt.

This campaign is in support of the Police & Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC’s Police and Crime Plan and its commitment to zero tolerance of mobile telephone use at the wheel, striving towards effective roads policing and improving road safety.