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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-11-17

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Action targeting drivers who use their mobile phones

MERSEYSIDE Police are taking part in a National Week of Action targeting drivers who use their mobile phones whilst driving. The campaign, the 2nd 1 of its kind in 2016, will continue until Sunday, and has seen Officers on motorcycles and unmarked cars and vans throughout Merseyside, as the Force looks to highlight the risks and serious penalties of being distracted by mobile phones.

Department for Transport figures show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in Britain in 2014, including 21 that were fatal and 84 classed as serious.

Sergeant Dave Yorke from Merseyside Police Roads Policing Department said:- "This campaign demonstrates the resolve of Police Forces in tackling this issue and to highlight to all drivers that the possibility of being prosecuted whilst using a mobile phone will be greatly increased. In 2015 over 2700 drivers on Merseyside were stopped using their mobile phones while driving, an offence which can and does contribute to serious road traffic collisions. This week of action is to highlight the issue to people who may be guilty of using their devices, but we are continually on the lookout for these offences all year. Don't take the risk: using a mobile phone significantly reduces your driving ability and a lack of concentration because you are using your mobile phone; whether to make a call, send a text message or check social media; can have severe consequences for yourself and others."

This operation has already seen a number of vehicles stopped and penalties issued figures will be available soon.  The 1st NPCC national mobile phone campaign of 2016, held in May, saw when a total of 2,418 vehicles stopped and 2,323 mobile phone offences detected. 

The Department for Transport recently sought feedback on proposed changes to the offence of using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving. Drivers caught using handheld mobile phones are likely to face much tougher penalties. New rules expected to come in in 2017 will see fines and points doubling. 

A 2016 annual report on motoring by the RAC suggests the number of motorists who illegally use mobile phones, while at the wheel is rising. 1,714 motorists were surveyed and 31% of motorists said they used a handheld phone behind the wheel compared with 8% in 2014.

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


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