Crackdown on drivers using mobile phones

Using your phone while driving could cost you £200 and six points on your licence.  It could also cost lives.

This is the message being issued by Surrey and Sussex Police as the forces prepare to crackdown on offenders who risk their own lives – and others’ – on our roads.

From today to Sunday 28th January, a dedicated team of officers will be on patrol to catch those who use their handheld devices to text, call or surf the web while driving.

If caught, offenders will receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence. New drivers who have passed their test in the last two years will be banned immediately.

The offence remains one of the main causes of serious injury and fatal collisions, and all motorists are being urged to take note.

Superintendent Chris Moon, head of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said:

It’s concerning that despite our repeated messaging around road safety, there are still a number of motorists who continue to use their phone while driving.

It goes without saying that anyone driving a vehicle should give their full attention to the road, not just for their own safety but for others’ too. By using a handheld device at the wheel, you are taking your attention away from the road, which can severely affect your judgement, your reaction times and your awareness of what’s around you.

A serious or even fatal collision at 60-70mph could be caused by a minor lapse in concentration. Throw a mobile phone into the mix, and you reduce your level of concentration even further.

The week of action will be in addition to officers’ routine roads policing duties, which are carried out all year round.

Offenders who refuse to pay the fine issued for using a mobile device while driving could be prosecuted, disqualified from driving and fined up to £1,000.

If officers can prove you are driving dangerously while using your phone, you could be disqualified and jailed for up to two years.

Supt Moon added:

The new legislation which came into effect last year means you only need to be caught on your phone twice to receive 12 point on your licence, which results in an immediate driving ban.

In simple terms, no text or call is worth paying £200 for. Nor is it worth potentially losing your life.

Our advice is to put your phone away where it won’t distract you. And if you really do need to use your phone for anything, make sure you pull over where it is safe to do so; don’t risk your life by using it while driving.

We’re supporting THINK! road safety as part of the campaign, which has issued several hard-hitting videos over the years, including this:

The initiative is also supported by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Drive SMART Surrey, organisations which aim to reduce road casualties and tackle antisocial driving through education and enforcement.

If you witness someone using their phone while driving, you can report it on the Operation Crackdown website.

Full details on the law around using mobile devices while driving can be found on the gov.uk website.

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