Hundreds caught using their mobile phone while driving

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Hundreds of drivers have been stopped and caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel during a week-long police crackdown to put a stop to the dangerous driving habit.

More than 300 motorists who were spotted making calls, texting and recording videos or surfing the web were targeted on the road network across Surrey, police say.

A total of 323 vehicles were stopped during the “It Can Wait” initiative which ran between January 23 and January 29.

Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit (RPU) were supporting a national week of action which saw 223 mobile phone related offences detected across the county.

They stopped 39 motorists for other distraction offences, which can include eating whilst driving, reading and fiddling with car controls – from programming a satellite navigation system to altering the climate control system.

As a result of the dedicated activity 249 fixed penalty notices were issued, 42 drivers were given verbal warnings, 14 have been summonsed to court and five will be attending driver education courses.

The motorists were made aware of the new legislation relating to the use of a hand held mobile whilst driving which will see the Fixed Penalty fine double from £100 to £200 and the penalty points for the offence increase from three points to six points.

The changes are due to come into effect from 1 March 2017 and can mean a new driver could lose their licence if they are caught using their phone just once.

The latest drive to stop motorists using a mobile when at the controls of a vehicle demonstrated of those stopped, 276 were men, 284 were over 25 and the most offences were clocked on the motorway – with 262 recorded.

The majority were driving a car – 195 motorists, 80 were van drivers and 45 were at the wheel of a lorry.

Inspector Alan Nicholls of Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit said: “The activity carried out during the launch week of the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign shows there are motorists of all ages, travelling on all types of roads, who are still steadfastly ignoring the dangers surrounding the use of hand held mobile phones.

“It is disappointing that the message to turn your phone off, put it on silent and out of reach is still not getting through.

“Drivers are putting themselves and those around them at huge risk by being distracted. The worst case scenario is that using a mobile phone when driving can cause death or serious injury.

“Do you want to be responsible for such a tragic outcome when the reason for your inattention could be as trivial as checking what someone wants for dinner? Think about it and help yourself to avoid temptation – Remember #It Can Wait.”

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