Police to clamp down on motoring offences

The new policeman in charge of keeping the region's roads safe has pledged to clamp down on the use of mobile phones whilst driving.

Monday, 14th November 2016, 3:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 2:52 pm

Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie of Northumbria Police said it was one of a number of driving offences the motor patrols unit will be tackling.

He said: “Using a mobile phone behind the wheel will always affect your concentration and the consequences of not focusing on the road can be devastating.

“Time and time again we say that motor vehicles have the ability to kill numerous people in a split second. We need to make sure people are listening to our advice.

“Speeding, not wearing your seatbelt, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they all impair your ability to drive safely and responsibly.

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“Our priority will always be to take people off the roads who think it is acceptable to put other road users at risk and, when appropriate, to put them before the courts. But we also know that some of the most serious criminals in our region use our road networks for drug dealing, trafficking and major crime. Those criminals often use vehicles that are uninsured and unlicenced and by targeting those vehicles we can disrupt major criminal activity.”

The National Police Chiefs Council has launched a campaign about the dangers of using your phone whilst driving.

They held a campaign in May this year during which 2,418 vehicles were stopped across the UK of which 2,323 mobile phone offences were detected.

Since April 2014 Northumbria Police have dealt with 1,543 motorists for driving whilst on their mobile phone including 606 in 2015 alone. This year 410 motorists have been dealt with for the offence.

Those figures are also supported by a recent RAC survey that found 31 per cent of 1,714 motorists asked said they used a handheld phone behind the wheel - compared with 8 per cent in 2014.

The number of drivers who said they sent a message or posted on social media rose from 7 per cent to 19 per cent, while 14 per cent said they had taken a photograph or video while driving.

To report a dangerous driver, including someone who persistently uses their phone behind the wheel, contact the Op Dragoon team by calling 101.