Police in England and Wales have announced a week-long crackdown on motorists who use their mobile phones while driving.
The operations will include dedicated patrols and messages on road signs.
Drivers caught using a mobile phone illegally whilst driving are usually given a Fixed Penalty of 3 points and £100. From next year, this penalty will be doubled to 6 points and £200. At Court, fines can be even higher.
The government has also proposed that drivers caught using mobile phones illegally will no longer be able to avoid penalty points by attending a course.
Any driver reaching 12 points for offences within three years of each other will be at risk of a ban under the totting-up system.
The offence applies to the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers for phone calls, texting, emailing, checking social media and other interactive functions. Drivers using hands-free devices can still find themselves facing an allegation of not being in proper control of their vehicle, which carries a similar penalty.
The national week of action comes after a previous one in May, which the Police said resulted in the detection of 2,323 offences across the week.
It follows an RAC survey in September, which suggested the number of motorists illegally using mobile phones while at the wheel was rising.
Of the motorists asked, 31% said they had used a handheld phone behind the wheel compared with 8% in 2014.
In the past some campaigners have argued that Police forces don’t take mobile phone offences seriously enough. Senior officers have said that this will change. This week’s crackdown is perhaps only the first step. Greater Manchester Police, for example, have today announced on Twitter that the crackdown on mobile phone use will last several weeks.
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