Crack down as new penalties for mobile phones
and other handheld devices introduced
MERSEYSIDE Police are targeting drivers
using their mobile phones and other handheld devices, as new legislation is
introduced nationally, imposing new penalties.
The new laws mean that from now, the fine for using a mobile device will rise to
£200 and the points penalty will be doubled to 6. This could result in new
drivers losing their licence for committing a single offence.
It has been illegal to use a mobile device, held in the hand,
whilst driving or stopped with the engine on, since December 2003. However, a
significant number of drivers are still using devices behind the wheel, in
Merseyside and nationally. A Merseyside week of action in January saw over 50
arrests for mobile phone offences, and hundreds more drivers were stopped and
Merseyside Police have now
held another a day of action, that took place on Thursday, 2 March 2017 and more
are now planned.
Chief Inspector Tony Jones, head of Matrix Roads Policing, said:- "We held
a week of action in January 2017 to give fair warning to drivers ahead of this
legislation, as we don't want anyone to find out the hard way, either through
causing an accident, or being caught as part of our increased activity. The new
laws will particularly hit new drivers. A new driver prosecuted for using their
mobile phone will face losing their licence after just 1 offence, which reflects
how seriously we treat all irresponsible and dangerous drivers. Merseyside
Police is committed to reducing the number of people killed or injured on our
roads in 2017 and we are determined to target motorists who flout the law and
recklessly endanger lives. This activity takes place on a daily basis and the
ideal scenario for us is that we start to stop less drivers as the messages hit
home, which we have seen in relation to drink driving. Modern phones have
changed how we communicate and the rise in people using them to:- make calls,
text, access social media, take photos and videos, and even check emails when
they should be 100% focussed on the road is a concern. There is never an excuse,
and drivers should always pull over to a safe place before using their phone.
People who ignore this advice present a massive danger to other road users,
pedestrians and to themselves and their passengers. They are distracted from the
road, their attention and reflexes are impaired, and such behaviour is equal to
drink and drug driving, and the non wearing of seatbelts, for sheer
recklessness. If you know people who use their phones at the wheel, challenge
them, make sure your friends and family do not lose their licence, their job, or
cause a serious accident through their behaviour."
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