West Mercia Police are supporting the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) mobile phone campaign (8th – 21st Feb), by targeting motorists who continue to use their mobile phone at the wheel. 

Distraction behind the wheel is such a significant contributory factor with regards to road collisions and this campaign demonstrates a willingness by police forces across the UK to tackle the issue of mobile phone use. Recent research carried out by the RAC, showing a detailed picture of drivers’ attitudes and opinion, places mobile phone use as the top driver concern.

Since 2018 there have been 2 fatalities, 14 serious injuries and 60 slight injuries in West Mercia where use of a mobile phone was recorded as a causation factor.

As part of the campaign motorists are being urged to really consider the impact using a mobile phone has on their driving ability, whether this is hand held or hands free and for all use, not just calls.  Whilst hands free is still legal, it is still a distraction and has been proven that drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision, are far less likely to notice or react to hazards, show poor lane discipline and display variable speed choices. If being distracted is leading to dangerous driving behaviour then enforcement can still be an option whether hands free or not.

For some people ensuring that your mobile phone is kept out of easy reach or turning your mobile off whilst driving is an easy way of avoiding the temptation.

Motorists caught using a mobile phone could face a £200 fine and six points on their licence. Drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban – which could also then lead to a £1,000 fine. While new drivers – those who have passed within the last two years – face having their licence revoked if caught just once.

However, traditional police officer enforcement isn’t the only deterrent that is out there.  With our recent commitment to the Operation Snap initiative members of the public can submit footage that has been captured on dashcam, headcams or other devices to a secure online portal, this means that anyone could be capturing evidence of poor driving and mobile phone use that will be viewed and actioned by a police officer.

Superintendent Mel Crowther for West Mercia Police said: ““Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm. We are urging those motorists who currently use a phone behind the wheel, whether hand held or hands free to really consider the impact of this on their safety and the safety of other road users, especially at this time of increased demand on emergency services. When you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert and we will be doing all we can to ensure our roads are kept safe”.