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Would you use your phone while driving?

Hopefully you answered no to that question.

According to statistics released by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), phone use was detected in nearly 70% of the 5,614 vehicles stopped during a nationwide week of enforcement back in January.

Launching today, March 1 and concluding on March 7, the week of enforcement coincides with new penalties for drivers caught using their mobiles while behind the wheel that come into effect today.

The stricter penalties mean that if caught, you will now receive 6 points and a £200 fine if you hold and use your phone while driving – double the previous penalties.

Inspector Sarah Smallwood, from the City of London Police, said:

“City of London Police’s Transport and Highways Operations Group will be supporting this national initiative, patrolling in both marked and unmarked cars, motorcycles and pedal cycles. As hazards and driving conditions can change rapidly, it is important that motorists are not distracted by using their mobile phones. The legislation covering these types of offences will continue to be policed robustly.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said:

“These new penalties reflect the seriousness of the offence and will strengthen the deterrent against using a mobile phone at the wheel. We need people to understand that this is not a minor offence that they can get away with.

“Across this week officers will continue to use innovative and intelligence-led tactics to catch and penalise people who are driving while distracted by a mobile phone. However, this is an attitudinal problem that we cannot simply enforce away by putting more officers on the roads.

“This issue has to begin with personal responsibility by drivers. We know that people are more likely to report other drivers using a phone than to view themselves as guilty of it. That has to change.

“Tougher penalties are a step in the right direction, but police forces and partners are working this week to make it socially unacceptable to use a mobile phone at the wheel. It’s about more than what you might have to pay as a penalty – you could hurt or kill an innocent person on the roads by checking a text or taking a call.

“Don’t do it – and don’t let others take the risk either.”

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