Drivers using their phone behind the wheel being targeted by Hampshire police in new crackdown

DANGEROUS drivers using their mobile phone behind the wheel are being targeted by police as part of a major crackdown.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:23 pm

Officers will be patrolling the roads in greater numbers to catch motorists flouting the law.

And as part of the campaign, police are urging people to ‘challenge their friends and family’ to stop them using their phones while driving.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police’s joint roads police unit will be enforcing the rules as part of a new nationwide drive.

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Police on a mobile phone operation in Fareham on March 16 2020. Several drivers were handed fixed penalty notices of £200 with six points on their licences. Picture: Ben Fishwick

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Road safety Sergeant Dave Hazlett said: ‘Most drivers are responsible and do not use their mobile phone whilst driving, but the few that continue to take risks by texting, surfing the internet, or completing other tasks, are putting other road users and themselves at risk.

‘The distraction of your phone will mean you are much less aware of what's happening around you. This can lead to you failing to see road signs with important information on, maintain a proper lane position or a steady speed.

‘Additionally, it has been shown that motorists are four times more likely to be involved in a collision whilst using a mobile phone or being distracted in a vehicle, and your reactions are 50 per cent slower.

‘I would also ask people to think twice before answering a call using hands free, as this still creates a distraction, and never take your eyes off the road.

‘Challenge your friends and family to do the same, as it is unacceptable to use a mobile phone whilst driving. It is not worth the risk.’

Research has shown using a phone while at the wheel can impair a person’s ability to react more than if you were to drive while over the alcohol limit.

People are also twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision caused by texting while driving than then you are from drink driving.

Being caught using a mobile phone while driving carries a penalty of six points and a £200 fine.

If you suspect someone is driving while using their mobile phone, report it on 101, 999 in an emergency, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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