POLICE patrolling local motorways detected nearly 50 mobile phone offences in five days.
Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit found 19 HGV drivers, 18 van drivers and 12 car drivers using a device while driving on the M40 and M42 between February 8 to 12.
The latest operation was part of national mobile phone campaign aimed at changing driver behaviours and highlighting the consequences of using a handheld mobile phone or other device while driving.
Sgt Carl Stafford said: “The majority of road users do not use their mobile phone while driving, however this operation shows the shocking number of people who continue to be distracted by their phone despite rigorous media campaigns and an increase in fines and points. This is even more dangerous when you consider that most of these drivers are travelling at motorway speeds.
“At 60mph you will be travelling at 27 metres per second, and a 4 second window to pick up, glance to open the phone, open your app and read that message means you have travelled the length of a football pitch without looking at what is in front of you which could have devastating consequences to both the driver and the other road users.
“This is why mobile phones have been identified as one of the ‘fatal 4’ factors that contribute towards death and injury on our roads alongside not wearing a seatbelt, drink and drug driving and speeding.
“We are asking drivers to please keep their full attention on the road because using a handheld or hands free mobile phone whilst driving, increases your risk of a collision by four times. To give a comparison, a driver distracted by a phone can be impaired to the same degree as a drink driver.
“Please put your phone out of reach in the glove compartment to take away the temptation and plan regular breaks at service stations and use your phone then. The car is not a mobile office to conduct your emails, check social media or do your online banking. These are all real incidents captured during Operation Tramline. We see the impact of when distracted drivers are involved in collisions, not only to the driver who can be facing a custodial sentence for causing death/serious injury by dangerous driving but to the victims and their families.”
The unit will be working in collaboration with Highways England and other partners to continue patrolling local motorways and dual carriageways to help improve road safety across Warwickshire.
During the latest operation a total of 235 vehicles were stopped and 268 offences identified by officers using a Highways England owned specially adapted HGV supercab, giving them an elevated position to observe driver behaviours in all vehicles and deal with any offences.
Along with detecting mobile phone offences, tickets were given to seven drivers for not being in proper control of their vehicle, 60 drivers were not wearing seatbelts, and 22 drivers were stopped for speeding.
Some 25 drivers had insecure loads that could shift or fall onto the carriageway injuring the driver or other road users.
Two HGVs were carrying abnormal loads without the correct movement orders and were prohibited from continuing their journey for 48 hours until rectified.
And detections weren’t limited to road traffic offences – one person was arrested on suspicion of a car key burglary and the team also located a high risk missing person.