Police to crack down on drivers using their mobile at the wheel
Using your phone while driving could cost you Â£200 and six points on your licence.
This is the simple message being issued by Surrey and Sussex Police as the forces prepare for their next roads policing operation.
From July 10-16, a dedicated team of officers will be on patrol in East Sussex to crack down on motorists who use their devices to text, call or surf the web while driving.
The week of action will be in addition to officers’ routine road policing duties, which are carried out all year round.
If caught, offenders will receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence. New drivers who have passed their test in the last two years will be banned immediately.
But the more concerning factor is the potential consequences of taking such action at the wheel.
Sergeant Phil Badman, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said, “Despite our repeated messaging around road safety, there are still a minority of motorists who continue to use their phone while driving. We’ve all seen it, however that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. Far from it, in fact.
“It goes without saying that anyone driving a vehicle should give their full attention to the road, not just for their own safety but for others’ too. By using a handheld device at the wheel, you are taking your attention away from the road, which can severely affect your judgement, your reaction times and your awareness of what’s around you.
“To put it into context, a serious or even fatal collision at 60-70mph could be caused by a minor lapse in concentration. Throw a mobile phone into the mix, and you reduce your level of concentration even further.”
If you refuse to pay the fine issued for using a mobile device while driving, you could be prosecuted, disqualified from driving and fined up to £1,000.
If officers can prove you are driving dangerously while using your phone, you could be disqualified and jailed for up to two years.
Sgt Badman added, “The new legislation which came into effect earlier this year means you only need to be caught on your phone twice to receive 12 point on your licence, which means an immediate driving ban. That’s on top of the fines you’ll have to pay.
“In simple terms, no text or call is worth paying £200 for. Nor is it worth potentially losing your life.
“Our advice is to put your phone away where it won’t distract you. And if you really do need to use your phone for anything, make sure you pull over where it is safe to do so; don’t risk your life by using it while driving.”
The initiative is supported by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Drive SMART Surrey, organisations which aim to reduce road casualties and tackle antisocial driving through education and enforcement.
If you witness someone using their phone while driving, you can report it on the Operation Crackdown website.
Full details on the law around using mobile devices while driving can be found on the gov.uk website.