Warwickshire Police has prosecuted a total of 61 people for using their mobile phone whilst driving in just two weeks from 8-21 February as part of a national campaign aimed at changing driver behaviours and highlighting the consequences. Nineteen of those prosecuted were HGV drivers, 22 were van drivers and 20 were car drivers.
The campaign involved raising awareness of the law and the potential consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving and for those persistent offenders, two weeks of enhanced enforcement activity.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “I find it shocking that so many drivers are willing to risk their life and the lives of others by using their mobile phone whilst driving.
“The results are due to a tremendous effort made by all front line officers from all departments including our Commercial Vehicle Unit, Operations Patrol Unit, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Special Constabulary all working together.
“Several SNT teams completed mini-operations with static officers observing traffic to see if drivers were using mobile phones whilst driving. The campaign also coincided with Operation Tramline which saw our Commercial Vehicle Unit using the Highways England owned HGV supercab on the M40 and M42 to observe driver behaviours and it was shocking to see so many drivers choosing to use a mobile phone at motorway speeds.”
It is hoped that the combination of officers stopping and talking to these drivers to help educate them and 6 points and £200 fine will make them reconsider their behaviour. Whilst most drivers don’t use a mobile phone whilst driving, we are asking drivers who may be tempted, to please put their mobile phone away out of sight in a bag or glove box or the boot when driving or simply switch it off.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “These figures just go to show how important it is to continue a programme of enforcement alongside educating drivers of the dangers. My Road Safety Fund supports the work of the Commercial Vehicle Unit, which has made a significant contribution to detecting these offences. In just five days on motorways in Warwickshire, officers from the unit identified 49 drivers using phones illegally and were able to take action against the offenders.
“Good police work alone cannot stop dangerous driving behaviours and it will take a change in people’s attitudes to how they use the roads in the long term. Ultimately, I want us to get to a situation where road safety is everyone’s top priority. I will continue to seek out and support initiatives across Warwickshire which will help to bring about a change for the better in attitudes among all road users so that we reduce further the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
The reason the campaign is so important in helping to improve safety on our roads is because using a mobile phone whilst driving has been identified as one of the ‘fatal 4’ factors that contribute towards death and injury on our roads alongside not wearing a seatbelt, drink and drug driving and speeding.
In Warwickshire, using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor in five serious collisions in 2019 and two serious collisions in 2020 (provisional data).
Being stopped by Warwickshire Police isn’t the only way you can get caught for using your mobile phone whilst driving. We are asking the public to submit any dashcam or GoPro footage they have captured as evidence that could be used to prosecute someone for using a phone whilst driving to Operation Snap via www.warwickshire.police.uk/operation-snap
More and more people are committing publicly to not using their phones while driving and you can follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #StandingupForHangingUp to symbolise this.
You can also follow us on Twitter @WarksPolice @OPUWarks and Facebook @WarwickshirePolice, @OPUWarwickshire