Drivers who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel are being targeted by Northumbria Police.
Supporting a national campaign, which is running until Saturday, Northumbria Police Motor Patrols officers are running a local operation looking to identify people who are using their mobile phones while driving.
Motor Patrols Chief Inspector John Heckels said: “Using a mobile phone, either hand-held or hands-free, is a significant distraction and substantially increases the risk of a driver being involved in a collision. Drivers who use a mobile phone are much less aware of what is happening on the road around them and so are less likely to see road signs, maintain proper lane positions and steady speeds and are more likely to tailgate the vehicle in front of them. It is incredibly dangerous and puts lives at risk. Anyone distracted by their phone will also react more slowly to things that happen on the road and take longer to brake and stop, meaning it could literally be the difference between life and death.”
The week-long initiative forms part of the force’s Operation Dragoon road-safety campaign which is aimed at making the roads safer for everyone. This activity is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers and consequences of using a mobile phone while driving and officers will look to educate motorists about the dangers and where appropriate take action against anyone found breaking the law.
Drivers whom officers see on the roads using their phones illegally will be stopped and spoken to, and will either be advised around the law and their driving or, where appropriate, they will be prosecuted. The Camera Enforcement Unit will also be looking for motorists using mobile phones while driving and anyone seen on camera will be identified and face prosecution.
Officers will also be carrying out inquiries into all road-traffic collisions to establish if mobile phone use may have been a contributory factor. Those caught using a mobile phone while driving face being banned from the roads, being fined up to thousands of pounds and could face criminal prosecution.