Crackdown: Police launch campaign targeting motorists who use phones whilst driving
North Wales Police, along with colleagues from the other Welsh Police Forces and Road Safety Wales are launching a major crackdown on motorists who use mobile phones whilst driving.
The two-week all-Wales enforcement campaign is urging all road users to ‘keep their eyes on the road’ and not be distracted by answering their mobile phone, reading a text or going online.
Police patrols will increase across Wales for the duration of the enforcement campaign, which runs from 6th until 19th October, to promote the safety message and raise awareness of the dangers and penalties amongst motorists.
Go Safe safety camera vans will also be used for the duration of the campaign as they also enforce mobile phone offences.
Chief Inspector Darren Wareing of North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said:
“This campaign is just one part of our ongoing effort to target and reduce the number of drivers who risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal collision due to using a mobile phone whilst driving.
“Along with drink driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving carelessly, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, whether it be texting, using an app, or making a phone call is classed as one of the “Fatal 5”; the 5 most common causes of fatal road traffic collisions.
“With the increased use of smart phones we are also seeing drivers being distracted whilst accessing their apps, reading their emails or accessing the internet. Drivers need to be aware that these actions carry the same danger and the same penalty.”
Since March this year North Wales Police have been using TORs (Traffic Offence Reports) to issue to drivers at the side of the road.
TORs have replaced all endorsable fixed penalty notices which now means the driver will be contacted with details of how their case will be dealt with – be it an offer of an educational course, a conditional offer of a fixed penalty and/or driving licence penalty points or an appearance at a Magistrates Court.
During the 2013 campaign over a 1,000 motorists were caught using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel. Between 1st January and 31stJuly this year North Wales Police have issued 1,069 tickets for mobile phone offences.
Chief Inspector Wareing said:
“It’s extremely disappointing that a number of people choose to ignore our warnings. Even the most experienced or competent of drivers can be easily distracted. A slight lapse in concentration can have serious consequences and this campaign will raise awareness about the issue and will hopefully lead to more drivers doing the right thing and obeying a law which is designed to keep them and other road users safe.”
Chair of Road Safety Wales Susan Storch said:
“Driving a vehicle requires us to multi-task so anything above and beyond that needs to wait until we are safely parked up or until our journey has finished.
“Campaigns such as this demonstrate the resolve of all the Road Safety Wales partners in tackling this issue and we will continue to work together to drive home the message that you need to switch off before you drive off.”
Executive Medical Director Matt Makin from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said:
“We fully back this campaign as it can only takes a split second of distraction from using a mobile phone behind the wheel to cause a tragic incident that sadly would call on our emergency medical care skill in this department.
“All of our Emergency Departments have to pick up the pieces following road traffic collisions and unfortunately we do the shockwaves spread through family, friends and neighbours.
“We would appeal to all drivers to think twice regarding texting and calling on a mobile while driving.
Throughout the campaign police and their partners will be using social media to highlight the campaign messages using the hash tag #fatal5 and #eyesontheroad
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