Officers from the Hampshire and Thames Valley Joint Operation Unit have undertaken a week long operation across the two Force areas targeting people who use their mobile phones while driving. This took place between 06:00 on Saturday 23rd May, to just before midnight on the evening of Friday 29th May.
On the Isle of Wight, a total of 13 motorists were stopped by the Isle of Wight Roads Policing Unit officers for using a mobile phone at the wheel.
As well as imposing penalties on drivers who were caught, dedicated officers also used the campaign as an opportunity to educate motorists to the dangers of distraction driving.
Some of the excuses people come up with are a cause for concern for officers who believe people still don’t understand the dangers. During previous operations some of the excuses that drivers who were caught tried to use included: “I wasn’t talking”, “I didn’t realise I was using it”, and “I was looking at the time”.
Some examples from the week of enforcement where drivers were given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)or Driver Diversion Course included:
• A driver on a mobile threw the phone onto the back seat when officers indicated the vehicle should pull over.
• A driver got their child to answer their mobile before being handed the phone to chat.
• A driver who was given a penalty notice threw it back at the officer and drove off in the hope that it would go away. It won’t.
• A driver had attached headphones to their phone which was attached to the windscreen in order to watch YouTube.
Hampshire Constabulary Road Safety Sergeant Rob Heard, said:
“It seems many people still do not understand the dangers of using a mobile phone, other handheld devices or other distractions while driving. The number of drivers caught has halved compared to a similar operation in January. However this still isn’t good enough.
“The majority of people know they should not be using a phone or device at the wheel, but don’t seem to understand what a huge distraction it is.
“Distraction can be a major contribution in road accidents. By looking at your phone or tablet’s screen or using it you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision and your reaction times can be around 50% slower.
“My advice is to turn off your phone and other devices while driving, put it out of reach, and out of view. This way you won’t be tempted to look at it and become distracted. It’s not worth the risk“.
A similar campaign in January saw 285 drivers caught. This time round, just 7% of those stopped were aged 16 to 24 years.