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‘LEAVE THE PHONE ALONE’: Police crackdown on motorists illegally using mobile devices at the wheel

The Metropolitan Police is reminding motorists who illegally use a mobile device while at the wheel to ‘leave the phone alone!’ as they crack down on offenders – with more than 180 people being fined since Monday 8 February.

Between Monday 8 and Sunday 21 February, the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), in partnership with Transport for London, is focusing activity on targeting motorists who unlawfully use hand-held mobile devices while driving, and in doing so, pose a very real danger to themselves, other drivers and pedestrians.

Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “The majority of people are responsible motorists who obey the rules of the road and, like me, are opposed to mobile phone use by other drivers.

“I would like to warn the minority of motorists selfishly driving while using a mobile phone that, in doing so, your reckless actions could be lethal. You are a significant danger to yourself, your passengers, other motorists and pedestrians. You are also breaking the law.

“Think about the possible consequences of your actions. If you are caught using a phone while driving you will be fined £200 and six points deducted from your licence. This could mean retaking your driving test or disqualification from driving altogether.

"If you cause a collision as a result of being on a phone, you could face prison. I ask you: how would you live with yourself if you were the cause of someone’s injury or death as a result of driving while on a mobile phone?

“So, my message is clear: when you are driving, leave the phone alone.”

Using a mobile phone while driving does not just mean holding a phone to your ear. It also includes other distracting activities such as selecting music, streaming, looking on social media, checking emails and filming.

If a driver was involved in a serious or fatal collision police would investigate to see if the person at the wheel was using a hands-free phone at the time and if so, if it had contributed to the poor standard of driving.

Throughout the weeks of enforcement and as part of ongoing regular patrols, dedicated RTPC patrols use unmarked vehicles, helmet cams, high-seated vehicles and high vantage points to catch those who commit such offences while at the wheel.

The operation and persistent patrols contribute towards the Mayor’s Vision Zero Action Plan launched in 2018 to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on London's streets by 2041. Each year, around 4,000 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads, taking a devastating toll on the people involved, their families and communities across the capital. It also supports the National Police Chief’s Council’s national weeks of action in February against such offenders.

According to the police there are many helpful strategies for motorists to stop the temptation of using the phone while driving:

  • A mobile phone blocking pouch may help by blocking the phone signal whilst you are driving

  • Put the phone in the glove compartment or boot… Try Out of sight, out of mind, out of hand

  • Turn your phone off whilst you are driving to resist the temptation

  • Activate airplane mode

  • Have an App that blocks calls when driving (these can often send a message that you are driving to enforce the socially acceptable message)

  • Some drivers may find it motivating to make a pledge not to use a phone. This can be particularly effective if you do it publicly possibly on social media.


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