Police back national crack down on drivers using mobile phones
Northumbria Police are backing a national campaign to target drivers who use their mobile phones behind the wheel.
New legislation introduced last year doubled the punishment for using a mobile while driving.
Under the new laws, offending drivers face a minimum £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Officers regularly stop drivers who have been seen on their mobile phones but this week there will be extra scrutiny on motorists.
The new campaign is being led by the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) and runs until Sunday, September 23.
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Sergeant Matt Sykes, of Operation Dragoon, said: "This law change has been in place for over a year now but motorists are still willing to risk using their phone while driving.
"Statistics actually show people are not only using their phones to text or call but are instead updating social media channels.
"We have also seen more people using live streaming apps whilst driving as well as taking part in social media challenges.
"This may seem like harmless fun but there have been too many cases of serious or fatal collisions as a result of this type of behaviour.
"We will be out in force this week to target those who commit this type of offence and people need to know it is not acceptable.
"Is updating your Instagram page while driving really worth putting lives at risk or six points and a £200 fine? If you answer yes to that question then you don't belong on the road."
As part of the week of action, Northumbria Police will be:
*Targeting irresponsible and dangerous drivers in a bid to improve road safety;
*Drawing drivers’ attention to the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a vehicle;
*Addressing the alarming rise in the number of people making calls, texting and recording videos illegally when they should be paying attention to the road;
* And highlighting to the public that illegal phone use while driving is as unacceptable as drink/drug driving or not wearing a seat belt.
This is a follow up campaign to one run last July when nationally 2,509 mobile phone offences were detected with 8,358 motorists being stopped.
This campaign is in support of the Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC’s Police and Crime Plan, which reiterates a commitment to zero tolerance of mobile telephone use at the wheel.