Motorists who use their mobile telephone whilst driving are to be targeted by Humberside Police in a month long campaign set to run throughout May.
During May roads policing officers across the force area will be concentrating on tackling the offence with a view to enforce, educate and encourage drivers.
The intention of the enforcement campaign is to
Reduce the incidence of motorists using their mobile phones whilst driving.
To improve driver attitude and behaviour with a view to preventing road collisions occurring.
To reduce casualties resulting from road collisions, particularly those resulting in fatal or serious injuries.
To raise awareness amongst motorists about the potential consequences of driving whilst using a hand held or hands free mobile phone.
To provide public reassurance and promote confidence and satisfaction in Humberside Police by providing high visibility policing in urban areas and on roads/routes with high traffic flows.
To disrupt, prevent and detect criminal activity, anti social behaviour and terrorist activity.
Casualty Reduction Officer PC Simon Carlisle said: “Mobile phones have many benefits. They can provide valuable security and help in an emergency. However, if used whilst driving it increases the risk of a collision.
“To drive safely you must concentrate. Talking on the phone distracts your attention from the road which can lead to a collision. Drivers simply cannot be in full control of their vehicle if they are using a mobile phone whilst driving.”
Locations across the force area which historically suffer from high numbers of collisions involving injury will see a higher police presence throughout the course of the campaign.
People caught using a mobile phone while driving will be dealt with by means of a traffic offence. In more serious cases, police have powers to prosecute drivers for careless or dangerous driving and drivers may also be asked to provide a breath test.
PC Carlisle said: “Legislation was introduced in December 2003 which prohibits the use of hand held mobile phones whilst driving.
“There is growing evidence the use of mobile phones is becoming a more common contributory causation factor in many serious collisions. It is the mental distraction more than the physical distraction that causes the problems.
“Although it is currently legal to use hands free kits, this still causes a similar mental distraction to that of a hand held mobile phone and the latest version of the Highway Code, revised in 2007, actively discourages the use of hands free kit.”
According to research conducted by the University of Utah in 2009, driving performance was dramatically impaired when the driver was using even using a hands free mobile phone in 97.5% of cases out of a sample of 200 drivers.
Using mobile phones when driving - The law
It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.
The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
It is also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.
Penalties for using your phone while driving:
You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding. You’ll get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.
Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
New drivers: You’ll lose your license if you get six or more penalty points within two years of passing your test.
When you can use a phone in your vehicle: If you’re the driver, you can only use your phone in a vehicle if you: need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop are safely parked
Using hands-free devices when driving: You can use hands-free phones, satellite navigation systems and two-way radios when you’re driving or riding. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.
The police can stop a vehicle for any reason. If they ask you to stop, you should always pull over. You’re breaking the law if you don’t.