More than 120 people were caught driving while using a mobile phone in Suffolk during a week-long enforcement campaign.
Operation Ringtone ran between Monday and Sunday, January 22 and 28, coinciding with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Officers patrolled the roads with marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, which were all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help secure successful prosecutions.
In total roads policing officers issued 122 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving. This compares with 62 TORs issued during the last week of action which took place between July 10 and 16.
Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “This is a staggering number of people caught breaking the law – an average of 17 a day – and I am deeply concerned that such a high number of people are willing to risk other people’s lives by using their phone whilst driving. However, I think the fact almost twice as many people were caught during this week of action compared with the last one in July 2017, is as a result of an intelligence-led concerted effort of officers across the county.
“Many of the drivers who were stopped stated that they were not aware the penalties for the offence increased last year and offenders now receive a £200 fine and six penalty points, which for someone who has had their licence for less than two years would see it revert back to a provisional one.
“What all this does highlight though is that far too many people are oblivious to just how dangerous using your phone whilst driving is and the devastating consequences it can have if it causes you to be involved in a serious or fatal collision.
“Our message is simple – don’t put lives in danger and leave your phone alone whilst behind the wheel.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “Time and time again we see drivers using their phones on the move so I was fully behind the Constabulary’s Operation Ringtone campaign to increase enforcement on our county’s roads. Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly we see it all too often.”
He added: “I hope the publicity around these campaigns, the higher penalties that drivers face for using their mobile phone, and the fact that members of the public are submitting footage, will finally make those who continue to flaunt the law take note.”