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New mobile phones campaign to target drivers in Shropshire

By Rory Smith | Crime | Published:

Shropshire motorists using their mobile phone will be targeted as part of a week of action.

West Mercia Police, the Safer Roads Partnership and National Fire Chiefs are backing the scheme to target motorists who continue to use their phone at the wheel.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council decided to conduct the week starting on Monday.

This comes after new legislation was brought in last year increasing the fine and licence points if caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Motorists can now face a £200 fine and six points on their licence.

Drivers caught twice can face a lengthy ban and a £1,000 fine, while new drivers who have passes within the last two years can have their licence revoked if caught just once.

Since March 2017, some 2,140 drivers in West Mercia have been caught using their mobile phone at the wheel.

The police say that over the past three years they have experienced a number of collisions where use of a mobile phone was a contributing factor.

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Anthony Bangham, national police chiefs’ council lead for roads policing, said: “Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm.

“We are making use of the tougher penalties to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour and we have to be clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert.

“It’s concerning that we still have drivers who are willing to risk driving whilst distracted and it is a year round commitment for us to challenge this behaviour across West Mercia.”

James Bainbridge, station manager at Shropshire Fire and Rescue, said: “In Shropshire, fire crews are often called to attend road traffic collisions where the use of a mobile phone whilst driving has been a contributory factor.

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“It takes no more than a moment of distraction for an accident to occur that is capable of causing serious life changing injuries and death - not only to the driver/phone user, but also to their passengers and other innocent road users.

“We believe that by making mobile phone use at the wheel as socially unacceptable as drink driving, and through legislation & enforcement, road safety risks will be significantly reduced.

“In supporting the mobile phone week of action, our message is to ‘turn off before you set off’, removing mobile phone distraction in full.”

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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