Suffolk Police launch #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign against using a mobile phone whilst driving

Suffolk Police are launching a #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign in order to tackle drivers who text and talk behind the wheel.

The Mobile Phone Campaign which starts today, Monday 8 February, will run until Sunday 14 February, coinciding with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.

A driver was caught using his phone behind the wheel on camera in a shocking near miss in Bury St Edmunds last year

As of legislation which came into effect in 2017, drivers found committing this offence will automatically receive six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine.

During 2020 Suffolk Police issued 125 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to motorists for the offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Drivers can also be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention for using their phone when behind the wheel, particularly if caught filming, watching videos or browsing the internet for example.

Temporary Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “We know the vast majority of drivers agree that it is completely unacceptable to drive a car whilst using a mobile phone, however there is still a minority who continue to put the lives of others at risk.

“Although we continue to target these offences throughout the year, these campaigns give us the opportunity to target the #Fatal4 offences which make you more likely to be involved in a collision. The aim to improve road safety and reduce the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“Drivers who use a mobile phone at the wheel are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, are less likely to notice or react to hazards and tend to show poor lane discipline.

“A common misconception is that a handsfree device is a safe option. Recent research suggests that this can be equally as distracting and again lead to a higher chance of being involved in a serious or fatal collision.

“We all have a responsibility to keep our roads safe and we are urging drivers to think twice and don’t answer the phone whilst driving. It is not worth the risk.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives, so I fully support this #StandingUpforHangingUp campaign.

“It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones but sadly we still see it far too often.

“I implore every driver tempted to use their phone whilst behind the wheel please, do not do it. It is against the law and if you are caught you will face a fine and points on your licence but more importantly you could kill or seriously injure someone, or yourself.

He added, “I know I have said it before, but the best way to improve safety on our roads is for every driver to remember the fatal four and put your phone out of reach, belt up, watch your speed and don’t drink or take drugs if you are going to drive, that really shouldn’t be so difficult.”

For updates throughout the campaign please visit the @NSRAPT Twitter using the hashtag #StandingUpForHangingUp