Over 130 drivers in Norfolk caught driving while on a mobile phone in a single week

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More than 130 people were caught driving while using a mobile phone in Norfolk during an enforcement campaign last week.

Police carried out patrols in marked and unmarked cars and bikes in a bid to target drivers using their mobile behind the wheel as part of Operation Ringtone.

The launch of the operation coincided with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) between 14 and 20 November which sees all forces carrying out extra patrols.

New unmarked motorcycles, fitted with helmet cameras to record incidents and obtain best evidence, were used by officers from the joint roads policing unit.

In seven days 137 drivers were caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel. On Thursday (17 November) police issued 12 tickets to drivers on Newmarket Road in Norwich in just 50 minutes.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “While it’s disappointing to see so many drivers caught, it’s pleasing to know that offenders are being dealt with. This sends a clear message to those people prepared to take such risks.

“Drivers might not think a momentary glance at a text message is harmful but the attention you give your phone is attention you’re not giving the road. Hazards on the road, especially when driving at speed, can change so quickly and in that moment if you’re not concentrating 100% you could easily cause a crash, injure or kill someone else, or become a casualty yourself.

“I would urge people who think it’s acceptable to do this behind the wheel to imagine if one of their relatives or friends was seriously injured or even killed in a collision where the driver at fault was using a mobile phone. What would their feelings be towards that driver…I can’t for a second imagine they would be favourable or think that it’s acceptable.”

Recently, Norfolk Constabulary withdrew from offering educational courses for first-time offenders of driving while using a mobile phone. Proposed penalty changes for the offence are currently going through Parliament and next year the automatic penalty will rise from £100 to £200 and three points to six points on your licence.