Drivers in Cheshire who use a mobile phone at the wheel will be the focus of a week-long national campaign by officers.
The week of action – run jointly by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and TISPOL from 17 September until 23 September – will see officers throughout the county on the lookout for anyone using social media, texting or taking a call while driving.
National figures show drivers who use mobile phones at the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a collision. In 2017 officers handed out 1,822 tickets to motorists who were stopped for using their phone while driving.
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Using a mobile phone at the wheel is against the law and is often a contributing factor in road traffic collisions. Checking a text or a social media post could be enough of a distraction for you to cause an accident which could have devastating consequences for other road users or pedestrians.
“Making Cheshire’s roads safer is one of my key priorities as your elected police and crime commissioner and I am pleased that officers from Cheshire Constabulary are doing all they can to make our roads safer by clamping down on drivers who use mobile phones.”
Despite a decrease in the number of drivers owning up to using a mobile to make or receive calls, text and use social media 24 per cent of drivers did not expect to be caught if they broke the law.
Anyone who is caught driving while using mobile phone faces the prospect of a £200 fine and six penalty points on their license, as well as an increase in their car insurance premium. This could result in the driver losing their license and even their job.
Inspector Darren Owen, of Cheshire Constabulary’s roads policing team, said: “Although officers are always on the lookout for drivers using a mobile phone these campaigns allow us to reinforce the message that using a handheld device is dangerous, completely reckless and dispels the thought that you can’t expect to be caught.
“Checking for a text, or picking up the phone could be enough of a distraction for you to kill someone at the wheel. Having that on your conscience and facing a prison sentence just isn’t worth it.”
As well as enforcement, the campaign will also focus on educating drivers about the dangers of driving while using a hand held device.
Inspector Owen added: “This operation is not just about issuing tickets, it’s also about educating motorists about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving to help prevent tragedies occurring.
“My advice is if you’re driving a car to pay attention to the road ahead and not your mobile phone. It could be the difference between life and death.”