From today, Wednesday March 1, people caught using their mobile phones while driving will now face more serious penalties – to mark this, Essex Police is launching a week of targeted action throughout the county to catch offenders in the act.
Essex Police is rolling out a week of action to coincide with the new legislation change and will be putting extra resource and focus into targeting mobile phone offenders through to Tuesday March 7.
Using a mobile phone while driving is now an offence punishable with a £200 fine and six penalty points on a driving licence. This doubles the previous penalties.
New drivers could also face losing their licence if caught.
Adam Pipe, Casualty Reduction Manager for Essex Police, said:
“The new penalties which come into place today will be a strong deterrent for those who still believe – despite the obvious seriousness of the offence – that using a mobile phone is acceptable behaviour on our roads.
“Irrevocable and fatal mistakes are made when mobile phones are used at the wheel and also when people allow themselves to be distracted.
“It may seem like a simple, even innocent act to send a text message or take a glance at your smartphone screen, but there is a very real chance this could lead to devastation for you, or someone else. There is no excuse for recklessness in the driver’s seat.
“Do not be a selfish road user, we have no sympathy for those who put others at risk and we will punish those we catch doing so by using the full extent of our powers.”
Officers will be conducting special operations throughout the county between Wednesday March 1 and Tuesday March 7.
Mobile patrols and static roads checks will be operating in areas including Brentwood, Loughton, Brentwood, Maldon and Southend.
Officers will also be dedicating one day next week to targeting HGV drivers.
Recent road policing stats for Essex:
• Essex Police caught 4,986 people using their mobile phones while driving last year
• Between January 1 2016, until December 31 2016, we prosecuted 477 people and 833 drivers received a £100 fine and three points on their licence
• We also offered 3,150 drivers the opportunity to attend educational courses instead of receiving penalty points (this was no longer an option from November 2016).