Drivers hit with new tougher penalties in police crackdown on using a mobile phone
More than 100 motorists have been caught using their
mobile phone at the wheel in just two days - as traffic cops use
new stronger penalties to crack down on distracted drivers in the
Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) are
enforcing the tougher Government laws which mean a £200 fine and
six penalty points for those caught.
A week-long police crackdown has been launched by CMPG - which
is made up of officers from West Midlands, Staffordshire and West
Mercia police forces - to coincide with the increased punishments
which came into force on Wednesday (1 March).
There have already been 117 drivers caught for being distracted
at the wheel on routes around the region - including busy stretches
such as the M6, M5 and M42.
Both marked and unmarked vehicles are being used to catch
motorists illegally using their phones or any other mobile
technology to make calls, text or browse the internet.
This includes a white, HGV cab which allows officers to be at
the same level as lorry drivers to spot those breaking the law; and
look down on unsuspecting motorists in cars or other light
vehicles. An officer alongside the driver is able to spot offenders
and record footage for evidence.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David
Jamieson, who brought in the original ban on driving while
on a mobile phone back in 2003, added: "These tougher penalties are
welcomed by all sensible road users as driving while using a
handheld mobile phone is potentially lethal.
"This is about saving lives. Studies have found that motorists
who talk on their handheld phone while driving are four times more
like to crash. Statistics also show that in just five years there
were more than 3,000 accidents involving a driver on the
"These tougher penalties are therefore only a good thing - and
the vast majority of the public agrees.
"But I want it to go further. I'd like to see local groups
benefit from the higher fines. It is only right that the fines from
such reckless drivers help pay to keep our roads safe."
Inspector Sion Hathaway, from CMPG, added: "Using a mobile phone
has been illegal since 2003 but some motorists are still putting
their own and others' lives at risk by driving while using a
"It only takes a momentary lapse in concentration to cause a
collision and with these stronger punishments you now stand to get
six points on your licence, plus the likelihood of being banned
from the road if caught twice.
"Being distracted can put road users in real danger; drivers
should ask themselves how they would feel if someone was seriously
injured or killed as a result of not paying attention while
driving? And it could end up with the offender spending several
years in prison."
Studies have found driver reaction times when using a mobile
phone are 30 per cent slower than someone who is just above the
drink drive limit; and 50 per cent slower than under normal driving
Research also indicates that drivers using mobile phones are
four times more likely to be involved in a crash involving damage
to property or serious injury.