South Yorkshire Police join clampdown on drivers using mobile phones at the wheel

Police will be clamping down on drivers using their mobile phone at the wheel.
Police will be clamping down on drivers using their mobile phone at the wheel.
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Unmarked police cars will be out across South Yorkshire over the next week as police look to clamp down on the number of drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel.

Officers from South Yorkshire Police's Operational Support Unit will be supporting a week-long national scheme and police will also take to the saddle to spot motorists who fail to leave cyclists enough room.

Acting Inspector Lee Beck said: “Using a handheld mobile device while driving, or even while the car is stationary with the engine running, is illegal and has been so since December 2003.

“However, the change in law last March doubled the punishment for those individuals who continue to flout the law and use their handheld devices while driving.

“Using a mobile while driving is distracting and draws your attention away from the road – it can have fatal consequences.

“We will have marked and unmarked police resources on our roads equipped with video cameras to record breaches of the law, so the warning to motorists is clear: don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t have it in your hands, or else you could be stopped by one of our team.”

In addition, to run alongside the mobile phone operation, officers will be carrying out a dedicated Safe Pass operation. This involves officers on bicycles being deployed onto the roads, to identify motorists that fail to adhere to safe passing distances for bicycles.

A/Insp Beck continued: “While we have officers dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of using handheld devices behind the wheel, we thought it would be useful to highlight once again another vital element of road safety: safe passing distances for cyclists.

“Driving too closely to a cyclist is incredibly dangerous and can have serious consequences, so it’s important that we continue to educate motorists about safe passing distances and to encourage a greater awareness of, and respect for, other road users.”

The operation will run until Monday, January 28.