Staffordshire Police have launched a 'Phone-free' safety campaign for all road users.
The campaign, which highlights the fact that being distracted by your mobile phone while driving makes you four times as likely to crash, began on Monday 9 March and is running to Sunday 29 March.
In the last five years Staffordshire Police have recorded 6,665 offences of driving whilst using a mobile phone, that’s an average of 111 per month.
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.
Officers from around the force, along with the Road Policing Team, will carry out roadside stops of vehicles.
They will be trialling travelling on buses to observe people, alerting colleagues who will then pull the offending driver over.
The force confirmed colleagues from Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) are also supporting the campaign by using their dedicated HGV to spot people using mobile phones while driving on the motorway.
While the emphasis will be on education and highlighting the dangers of driving while using a mobile phone, drivers caught in the act will be prosecuted.
During the campaign officers are also set to hold an engagement event in Hanley, with partners from Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). They’ll use an interactive game to show how distractions can greatly reduce concentration levels and encourage people not to use their mobile phones when driving.
This activity supports the National Police Chiefs Council’s (NPCC) overarching campaign.
Inspector Andy Bulman, Staffordshire Police Road Policing Team, said: “Using a mobile phone at the wheel in any way puts you and others at much higher risk as it only takes a second of lapsed concentration to prevent you from reacting to a hazard. Over 100 people a month are taking that risk in Staffordshire, which is shocking.
“Worryingly we’ve seen a move away from people using mobiles to make calls to people now using them to check their social media or use other interactive apps.
“This campaign aims to make people think twice before they take that risk. Using a combination of focused patrols on the roads of Staffordshire to target those who flout the law, along with simple yet thought provoking social media graphics and bus adverts which we hope will make an impact on drivers when they’re out and about.
“The message is simple. Help us make Staffordshire’s roads safer by going #PhoneFree.”
Image credit: Pixabay