Hands off! Unmarked police cars to scout for drivers using their mobile phones
PUBLISHED: 11:02 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 10 July 2017
Drivers using mobile phones will be targeted by police driving unmarked cars and motorcycles as well as marked cars in a new crackdown.
The vehicles taking part in Operation Ringtone will be fitted with evidence-gathering cameras in a bid to bring offenders to justice.
Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said even a momentary glance at a phone while driving could have tragic consequences.
He said: “The key thing to remember here is that while you’re behind the wheel you are in charge of a machine, a machine which can seriously injure and even kill people if you’re not in proper control.
“If you take your eyes off the road for just three seconds when doing 70mph you will travel further than the length of a football pitch. Ask yourself, what could happen in that time?”
Drivers using their phone now face six points on their licence and a £200 fine.
READ MORE: Why they’re backing the EDP’s Hands Off your mobile campaign
As part of the crackdown, which launches today, members of the public can submit dash cam footage via a new reporting form on the police website.
Ch Insp Barnard said: “We are doing everything within our power to stop offenders and hopefully prevent serious or fatal collisions. However, with the help of the public, submitting footage and supporting our investigations, we will be able to hold more lawbreakers to account.
“Our aim is to make this offence as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. Drivers might not think a momentary glance at a text message is harming anyone, but think of what’s going on around you.”
In September last year, this newspaper launched a Hands Off campaign to stop drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel.
READ MORE: More than 6,000 drivers caught using mobile phone at wheel in Norfolk and Suffolk
Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, said there was no excuse for using a mobile phone when driving. He said: “A momentary lapse in concentration can lead to disastrous consequences. I fully support the call for members of the public to go that extra mile by submitting dash cam footage to our officers in a bid to catch those intent on breaking the law.”
Crimes can be reported online at www.norfolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/report-crime
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