Gloucestershire joins police forces across the country to tackle mobile phone use when driving
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Gloucestershire Constabulary is joining police forces across the country in tackling those driving whilst using their mobile phones.
The ‘No Mobile at the Wheel campaign’ is in line with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s ‘Safe and Social Roads’ policy for Gloucestershire and is organised by the National Police Chief’s Council, which aims to target those who are statistically more likely to use a mobile phone whilst driving.
Statistics for Gloucestershire show that over the last five years 23% of drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel involved commercial vehicles and with the current lockdown still in place there is a higher number of these types of drivers on Gloucestershire’s roads.
To help raise awareness of this Gloucestershire Constabulary are now contacting businesses across the county to remind them of the issues and consequences of mobile phone use while driving.
As part of the wider campaign, officers will also be carrying out proactive operations from 15 to 21 February to catch drivers using mobile phones whilst behind the wheel.
This will include patrols across the county by officers from the Specialist Operations team, use of the long range camera and roadside stops by the Special Constabulary.
The use of a mobile phone whilst driving falls within the "Fatal Four" causes of road deaths and injury along with inappropriate speed, not wearing a seat belt and drink/drug driving.
A survey conducted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) revealed that 35% of drivers under the age of 25 check texts, emails or social media accounts whilst behind the wheel making them more likely to crash from losing concentration.
Advice will be given out to those who are stopped as currently only 15% of drivers follow Government advice on putting phones in the glove compartment of their vehicle to stop distractions.
Drivers using a phone (handheld or hands free) are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, far less likely to notice and react to hazards, more likely to show poor lane discipline and make more variable speed choices.
Mobile phones provide a further distraction for drivers who are using them as a Satnav or listening to music. Streaming whilst driving is also increasing with people filming videos for social media apps TikTok and Snapchat whilst driving so the safest thing to do is to shut them away in the glove box.
Superintendent Paul Keasey said: "I recognise that mobile phones are an important part of everyone’s lives and provide an important medium for people to stay in touch, especially during these exceptional times. However, it is vitally important that motorists use them safely and are not distracted by them whilst driving.
"Officers from our Roads Policing Unit, Special Constabulary, Local Policing Teams and Camera Monitoring Unit will be placing additional emphasis on monitoring road users and intervening where they see or suspect someone using a mobile phone while driving.
"Our presence and activity will clearly demonstrate our commitment to keeping people safe from harm on the county’s roads – that goes to the very heart of the Constabulary’s mission.
“Many companies with delivery drivers are very responsible about ensuring their drivers do not use their phones whilst driving so this campaign is about reminding both drivers and their employers of the importance of this."
Safe and Social Roads is one of Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl's priorities, it aims to ensure that residents can move around our communities in safety and with as much ease and convenience as possible knowing that police will enforce the law when necessary whilst addressing local road safety concerns.
Nigel Lloyd-Jones, Priority Lead for Safe and Social Roads for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Mobile phone usage whilst driving, in any way, is unacceptable to the majority of people.
"A vital aspect of this campaign is a unified approach of the community and police to make it clear to a minority that this is a dangerous practice. Suggesting alternative strategies such as putting the device in the glove compartment, or having an app that blocks calls whilst driving could be life savers.
“Many companies are very responsible about ensuring their drivers do not use their phones whilst driving so this campaign is about reminding both drivers and their employers of the importance of this.