Crackdown on using phones while driving

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DERBYSHIRE police are planning a crackdown on motorists who use their mobile phone while driving.

An education and enforcement operation will take place between Monday, November 21 and Sunday, November 27, to coincide with Brake’s national Road Safety Week.

Officers already stop drivers seen using their mobile phones behind the wheel but extra patrols will take place across the county to crackdown on offenders.

Anyone caught can receive an automatic fixed penalty notice, which is three points on your driving licence and a £60 fine. The maximum penalty is disqualification from driving and a £1,000 fine. This rises to £2,500 for bus drivers or people who drive goods vehicles.

Between April 2010 and March 2011, 1,362 drivers were given notices for using a mobile while driving. From April 2009 until March 2010, 1,696 drivers were given notices for the offence.

Inspector Adam Waterfall said: “Using a mobile phone while driving can severely slow your reaction time, making it harder for you to control your speed and lane position and in turn, making it more likely for you to have a collision.

“Drivers who talk on a phone are four times more likely to be involved in a crash and reading or writing text messages behind the wheel is even more distracting as you focus your eyes and mind on your mobile.”

The mobile phone campaign is part of Derbyshire police’s commitment to tackle the ‘fatal four’ – the four most common causes of collisions. The four are drink or drug driving, using a mobile phone, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.

In September, Derbyshire police, supported by other organisations which make up the Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership, launched a seatbelt campaign. More than 117 drivers across the county were dealt with for failing to wear a seatbelt.

Inspector Waterfall added: “In support of Road Safety Week, we will conduct checks at locations across the county to make sure vehicles are safe and legal.

“Defects are another factor which can contribute to collisions so we will be stopping anyone we suspect of driving an unsafe or defective vehicle.”

Details of the operation will feature on Derbyshire police’s Twitter feed throughout the week @DerbysPolice.