Police in Suffolk will be targeting drivers who text and talk behind the wheel as part of a week-long enforcement campaign.
Operation Ringtone will run from today, Monday 17 September, until Sunday 23 September, coinciding with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
Officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.
During the most recent campaign held between 22 and 28 January of this year, 122 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) were issued in Suffolk to drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving.
The constabulary will also being supporting Project EDWARD this week (European Day Without A Road Death), which is supported by all 30 TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network) member countries. This will take place on Wednesday 19 September, with the target that no one should die on the roads of Europe on that day.
Temporary Superintendent Kris Barnard, head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Driving while using a mobile phone is one of the ‘fatal four’ offences which makes you more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision; alongside speeding, drink/drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
“If drivers are talking, texting or using the internet on their phones, then they are distracted from the job at hand and less aware of potential hazards.
“The new penalties introduced in March last year saw both the fines and penalties for this offence double, so anyone caught faces a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence. This has a significant impact for new drivers, as anyone within two years of passing their driving test receiving six penalty points will lose their licence.
“We are determined to make this offence as socially unacceptable as drink and drug driving and this stigma combined with the stiffer penalties are, in my opinion, beginning to contribute to a gradual fall in offences.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, said: “Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly we see it all too often. I hope the increased penalties will be the catalyst for change and I will look forward to seeing if this week’s campaign shows obvious sign of improvement.
“I wholeheartedly support this Operation Ringtone campaign which will see increased enforcement across the county.”
He added, “I know I have said it before, but the best way to improve safety on our roads is for every driver to remember the fatal four and put your phone out of reach, belt up, watch your speed and don’t drink if you are going to drive, that really shouldn’t be so difficult.”
More information about Project EDWARD can be found here: https://projectedward.eu/
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Police Connect Team