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Motorists are being given a stark warning not to put their lives at risk by using a mobile phone while driving – as officers look to reduce the number of people becoming distracted while behind the wheel.
The crackdown comes as the force has given its backing to a national policing campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of using a phone while driving.
Using a mobile phone while driving has been illegal since 2003. Legislation introduced in March 2017 means drivers caught using their phones at the wheel now receive six points and a £200 fine, and new drivers (within the first two years of holding a full licence) will have their licence removed by the courts.
During 2021 Staffordshire Police prosecuted 859 drivers for using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving. The vast majority (87%) of the offenders were men, and almost half (47%) were driving a commercial vehicle at the time.
The force is urging motorists to be #PhoneFree through social media promotion, online competitions and local engagement opportunities at petrol stations and business premises.
Inspector Mark Joynson, of the force's Road Policing Unit, said: “Any kind of phone use can be distracting, taking your eyes off the road, even for a couple of seconds to check a notification or skip songs, can be dangerous as you can’t concentrate on two things at once.
“Using handsfree systems can be distracting too, so the safest thing to do is avoid using your phone whilst driving and be phone free.
“Your friends, family, or work colleagues won’t mind waiting for a text, call or message if you’re driving. They would rather you got to your destination safely than not at all. If you need to make a call or text, park up somewhere safely and turn the ignition off.
“If you’re caught using a phone at the wheel you could receive six points and a fine, and new drivers even have their licence removed by the courts.
“The message is simple, help us make Staffordshire’s roads safer by going #PhoneFree.”
Visit the Staffordshire Police website for more tips on how to stay safe on the road: https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rs/road-safety/