The Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) is again cracking down on mobile phone use by drivers, in targeted operations to prosecute offenders and drive home the risks and consequences of distraction driving.
The campaign is set up to coincide with the new penalties implemented by the Department for Transport which will raise the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving, which come into force on Wednesday 1 March.
Those caught using a mobile phone while driving will now be given a £200 fine and six penalty points on their driving licence – double the previous penalties.
Over the next week throughout the capital, the RTPC will deploy dedicated patrols by officers using unmarked vans, helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and high vantage points to catch offenders. This will include drivers stopped at traffic lights or using their phone whilst in traffic queues.
Chief Inspector Colin Carswell, from the RTPC, said:
“We will use a variety of tactics to deal with drivers who present a risk to other road users. Using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving means a driver’s attention is distracted from the road and is, after speeding, probably the most dangerous thing a driver can do – leading to people being killed and injured on our roads.
“You’re slower at recognising and reacting to hazards if you are driving and using a mobile phone. Making a call or sending a text is distracting and can have very serious consequences. The grief of a family who have lost a loved one following a traffic collision is immeasurable. Is a phone call to text message really that important? The only thing drivers should be concentrating on is driving.”
Siwan Hayward, Transport for London’s Head of Transport Policing, said:
“The number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads continues to fall, however distraction remains one of the key sources of road danger. The rising trend of collisions involving the use of hand held mobile phones is deeply concerning to us. This is why we are stepping up our activity with the Metropolitan Police Service and other partners to address this issue and make our roads safer for everyone.”
Between 6 April 2016 and 27 February 2017 there were a total of 9,560 mobile phone offences within the Metropolitan Police area