HAMPSHIRE police are set to join forces from across the country in a major crackdown on motorists using mobile phones at the wheel
Led by the National Police Chiefs Council, constabularies nationwide are looking to reduce the number of unnecessary deaths on roads.
As reported by The News, Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Constabulary joined forces as part of Operation Tramline this month.
During the five-day operation, roads policing officers from the joint operations unit caught 213 people being distracted at the wheel on the M27, M3, A34, M4 and M40.
One of those was stopped for being caught eating cereal in the morning rush hour on the M27 near Fareham.
In total 137 drivers were caught on their phones, with officers using a HGV lorry from Highways England to look down into vehicles from a high vantage point.
We have all seen the devastation caused by those who take the risks.Rob Heard, Hampshire Constabulary’s road safety sergeant
Rob Heard, Hampshire Constabulary’s road safety sergeant, said: ‘Every day on our roads we all see people deciding to take that risk to use their mobile phone whilst driving, whether looking at a text, making and receiving calls or even surfing the internet.
‘Doing any of these will clearly impair and distract your ability to drive a vehicle safely.
‘Drivers end up feeling more stressed and frustrated and are more likely to “tailgate” the vehicle in front or enter unsafe gaps in traffic.
‘We have all seen the devastation caused by those who take the risks.
‘My advice is to turn your phone off while driving, put it out of reach, and out of view. This way you won’t be tempted to look at it and become distracted.
‘It’s not worth the risk.’
Police say drivers are four times more likely to crash while using a mobile phone while driving and reaction times are around 50 per cent slower.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond says she firmly welcomes the initiative.
Mrs Drummond added that the government may need to look at whether sentencing needs to be increased.
A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake previously told The News: ‘Driver distraction is thought to be one of the biggest contributory factors in devastating, serious crashes on our roads.
‘That’s why all drivers need to keep their minds completely focused on the road at all times – any distraction could be fatal.’
The crackdown comes after lorry driver Tomasz Kroker killed a mother and three children on the A34 when he was on his phone.