Crackdown on drivers using mobiles

PUBLISHED: 09:49 15 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 31 May 2010

POLICE are disappointed that more than 200 drivers were caught using their phone at the wheel in a crackdown campaign lasting just 12 days. The operation in Cambridgeshire ran from the end of March into the beginning of April, when unmarked police patrols

POLICE are disappointed that more than 200 drivers were caught using their phone at the wheel in a crackdown campaign lasting just 12 days.

The operation in Cambridgeshire ran from the end of March into the beginning of April, when unmarked police patrols reprimanded 210 motorists.

Sgt Robin Marshall said: "It is disappointing to catch so many motorists breaking the law in such a small space of time. It only takes a few seconds' distraction from a mobile to cause a collision, which can have fatal consequences."

It was not just users of handheld phones that were caught during the campaign: seven vehicles were found to have no MOT, 17 motorists were caught speeding and 37 people were caught not wearing a seatbelt.

PC Tony Barrios said: "Cambridgeshire Constabulary take these offences extremely seriously and will continue with our robust enforcement of the law.

"Roads can be a dangerous place when the law is not respected and adhered to. If we are to reduce the number of fatalities and casualties on the county's roads it is vital people comply with the law."

Despite it being more than a year since tougher penalties were introduced - an increase in the fine from £30 to £60 and three penalty points - a large number of drivers are still ignoring legislation.

Last year 185,000 drivers nationally were prosecuted for driving while using a mobile, including 2010 in Cambridgeshire and a staggering 7500 in Essex.

Essex Casualty Reduction Board chairman Cllr Norman Hume said: "We must send out the message loud and clear to drivers not to answer or make calls or texts while driving and recent research shows there is clear support for that stance.

"I'd urge family, friends and employers not to call someone they think may be driving - because even a split-second of distraction can so easily lead to the destruction of people's lives.

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