14/11/2016

Campaign Launched to Target Drivers Distracted by Mobile Phones

People who use their mobile phones whilst driving are to be targeted in a week-long campaign, beginning today, Monday 14th November.

During the campaign, officers in unmarked cars will be out on the road networks of Cleveland and Durham, actively looking for motorists who are distracted from driving by using their phones.

Chief Inspector Graham Milne, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Drivers are not only distracted by making or receiving calls, now a days we see drivers texting, using social media or changing a music track which are all equally as dangerous.

“If you’re someone who is likely to be tempted to use your phone whilst driving, keep it out of reach in the boot or in a glove compartment and if a call can’t wait, park up safely first."

“Recent footage released by Thames Valley Police shows the impact and devastating consequences of a collision which killed a mother and three children. The collision happened as lorry driver Tomasz Kroker crashed into their vehicle whilst changing a music track on his mobile phone. Had Kroker not been using his phone that day, four innocent lives would have been saved.”

Those found to be breaking the law using a handheld phone could be handed a £100 fine and three penalty points.

Using a hands-free phone whilst driving can also result in prosecution if the driver is not in proper control of their vehicle. Driving carelessly or dangerously when using a hands-free phone can lead to a disqualification, a fine and up to two years imprisonment.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “I am fully supportive of all road safety initiatives that save lives. I would urge everyone who is tempted to use a mobile phone whilst driving to keep it out of reach or turn it off. During 2015 there were 871 offences of driving whilst using a mobile phone across Cleveland and Durham.”

Footage released by Thames Valley Police.