Drivers who use their mobile phones behind the wheel in West Norfolk will be targeted as part of a police campaign this week.
Operation Ringtone, which started today and will run until Sunday, coincides with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).
It will see officers patrolling the roads with marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help secure successful prosecutions.
Police are also continuing to encourage members of the public to use the reporting form on the police website, which allows members of the public to submit dash cam footage to support the fight against those breaking the law.
Chief Insp Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “We believe driving whilst using a mobile phone is just as dangerous as drink- or drug-driving and are determined to make it as socially unacceptable as those offences.
“Mobile phones in vehicles are a distraction and can cause serious or even fatal collisions.
“A momentary glance down at your phone means you are not paying full attention to the road and are not in proper control of your vehicle.
“My appeal to motorists is to put their phones out of reach when you are driving and either leave it in your bag or put in in the glovebox, so you are not tempted to look at a message or answer a call.
“The penalties for driving whilst using a mobile phone were increased last year and anyone caught committing the offence will receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine, which I hope acts as an extra deterrent and will make people think twice before picking up their phone.
“Members of the public can continue to assist us by submitting footage and supporting our investigations, allowing us to hold more lawbreakers to account.”
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green, who launched the #Impact campaign in a bid to educate young people about road safety, including the dangers of using a mobile phone at the wheel, said: “The work police and partners do, not just during the campaign weeks but all year round, to educate drivers is undoubtedly making people more aware of the dangers and I fully support increased enforcement campaigns like this to target offenders and bring them to justice.
“But there is only so much our police can do to keep Norfolk’s roads safe – the rest comes down to social responsibility.
“Dangerous driving kills – whether through excessive speed, being drunk or on drugs, failing to wear a seatbelt or not giving the road your full attention. There is simply no excuse for it.”