571 Caught Using Their Mobile Phone Whilst Driving
571 motorists were caught using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel during the 2015 All-Wales Anti-Mobile Phone While Driving Campaign.
The enforcement campaign, which ran between September 24 and October 7, involved road safety partners and urged all road users to ‘keep their eyes on the road’ and not be distracted by answering their mobile phone, reading a text or going online.
Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
Led by Dyfed Powys Police, officers from all four Welsh police forces and GoSafe carried out proactive patrols to target motorists who endangered other road users through this behaviour and educated drivers on the penalties they faced if caught.
During the campaign, officers detected a total of 571 mobile phone driving offences throughout Wales and issued 177 warnings.
Dyfed-Powys Police caught and dealt with 388 offenders, in the Gwent area a total of 67 were caught, North Wales Police caught 59, and in South Wales Police 57 law breakers were dealt with.
Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police and NPCC All Wales lead on Roads Policing, Carl Langley said: “Although fewer motorists were caught in this year’s campaign, it remains a serious concern that so many drivers choose to risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal collision due to using a mobile phone whilst driving. Our warning is clear, even the most experienced or competent of drivers can be easily distracted and a slight lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences.
“Taking such a risk is totally unacceptable, and this is why officers from all four Welsh forces will continue to carry out proactive patrols to target motorists who endanger themselves and other road users. No call, text, app, or email is that important – they must all wait until you’ve stopped driving.”
Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales added: "Driving while using a mobile phone is not only illegal but dangerous. It doesn’t just put your own life at risk but also the lives of your passengers and other road users who may not have a say in your actions behind the wheel.
"While it’s saddening to see that so many motorists got caught using a mobile phone whilst driving it has also demonstrated the resolve of all the Road Safety Wales partners in tackling this issue and we will continue to work together to drive home the message that no call or text is that important."
During the campaign officers also detected 200 other offences whilst carrying out checks – they includedoffences known to contribute to fatal and serious collisions, such as drink and drug driving, speed, not wearing a seat belt, carelessness, no insurance, drugs and construction and use offences.
During the 2014 campaign officers detected a total of 914 mobile phone driving offences throughout Wales.
Dyfed-Powys Police issued 447 fixed penalty notices, Gwent Police issued 72 notices, North Wales Police issued 53 TOR’s (Traffic Offence Reports) while in the South Wales area 342 offenders were apprehended.
You can get a fixed penalty notice if you’re caught, resulting in a £100 fine and 3 points on your licence. Be aware that if you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
• Don't make or answer calls when you're driving
All phone calls distract drivers' attention from the road. You can pick up any missed calls or texts when it is safe and convenient to do so. If you need to use the phone when driving, then stop at the first safe opportunity
• It's illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road even if you've stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam or are in a car park
All these situations are covered by the legal definition of 'driving on the road'.
• Park safely before using your mobile phone
Do not park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
• Don't call other people when they're driving
If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
Further information regarding the Go Safe partnership is available via their website www.gosafe.org