Police Warn Of Absolute Danger Over Mobile Phone Use While Driving

Local News

Police in West Yorkshire supported a national campaign to warn people of the ‘‘absolute danger’’ of using a mobile phone while driving.

Officers from Yorkshire’s largest force used the week-long campaign, which was led by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), to raise awareness over mobile phone use while driving being one of the ‘fatal four’ – the name given to the four most common circumstances leading to death on the roads and also including speeding, not wearing a seat belt and drink/drug driving.

Inspector Joanne Field, who leads West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: ‘‘The law banning the use of mobile phones while driving has been in place for over 11 years now but we are still seeing thousands of people each year flouting the law and endangering not only themselves but other road users as well.

‘‘The risks associated with using a phone while behind the wheel are very clear. During my police career I’ve seen the fatal consequences of people who’ve been distracted by using a phone while driving on far too many occasions. Make no mistake, there is an absolute danger to sending that text message or making that quick call while you’re in charge of a vehicle.’’

Research has shown that driving while using a phone makes you four times more likely to be involved in a collision and studies by the Transport Research Laboratory suggest that using a hand-held mobile while driving can be more dangerous than drink-driving.

Throughout the week, officers from West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Units mounted additional proactive patrols to target those who persist with using a mobile phone while driving.

If you are caught using a hand-held phone while driving, you will get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. The points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs. If you are convicted of driving carelessly or dangerously while using a hand-held phone you can be disqualified from driving, receive a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

Drivers can use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a hand-held phone.

Inspector Field added: ‘‘With so many people now using mobile devices as sat nav systems it’s important to remember that if your car is not safely parked and you are using a hand-held mobile for whatever reason you are breaking the law and your actions have the clear potential to endanger your life and those of other road users. The same rules apply if you’re waiting at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

‘‘Unfortunately, it never takes officers very long to spot people breaking the law. This is not about penalising motorists or generating revenue for the government, it’s about keeping people safe and making them aware of the potentially fatal consequences associated with driving while using a mobile.

West Yorkshire Police post weekly messages on social media highlighting the dangers associated with driving while using a mobile phone. These messages have reached over four and half million people over the last nine months.

‘‘Figures both locally and nationally show the number of people prosecuted for using a mobile while driving has fallen over recent years so the message is getting through, but we must not rest on our laurels, as this simple act leads to death on the roads’’, added Inspector Field.

A film funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and created by local police and pupils from Minsthorpe Community College and Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy, highlights the dangers associated with using mobile phones while driving and not wearing a seat belt.

The film can be viewed at;

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