Police begin fresh operational push against mobile phone use by drivers following previous effort that caught thousands of offenders nationwide

Northern Constabulary Force Helicopter 1998 - by Dave Conner via Flickr
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More than 7,800 fixed penalty notices were issued as well as hundreds of verbal warnings given and 68 court summons.  

Recent studies show use of mobile phones when driving is widespread and the risks drastically underestimated.

The first planned mobile phone enforcement campaign of 2017 will run from Monday 23 – Sunday 29 January. Throughout this week police forces will run targeted operations and education campaigns.

Operations include:

  • targeted patrols using unmarked vans, high vantage points and helmet cams to catch offenders;
  • partnership with local authorities and emergency services to deter people from taking the risks;
  • innovative digital campaigns to communicate that the risks are more serious than people think;
  • community ‘spotters’ to highlight hotspots and repeat offenders to police;
  • advising the public about changes to penalties for mobile phone use by driving from 1 March 2017.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said:

“This week forces will be working to make driving distracted as socially unacceptable as drink driving through enforcing strong deterrents and powerful messages to make people think twice about their driving habits.

“Encouraging results from last year’s campaign against mobile phone use show how effective new tactics and innovative approaches can be. Officers will continue to use intelligence-led tactics to target police activity and resources and catch repeat offenders.

“Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.

“Remember: when at the wheel, your calls or texts can wait. Keep your eyes on the road.”

Comparison with previous campaigns:






Total number of vehicles stopped





Mobile phone offences detected





Other distraction offences detected





Total number of offences






Notes to editors:

These results are at the national level built from police force data on operations conducted across the week of enforcement. The NPCC will not be providing results for individual force areas.

In November 36 police forces joined together to address this attitudinal problem through an enforcement crackdown and education campaign.

The January campaign will also include a short survey to gauge support and awareness of changing penalties for mobile phone use by motorists. This survey can be accessed here

Follow police activity on social media activity using hashtags #itcanwait and #eyesontheroad.

CC Davenport is not available for interview, but the NPCC Press Office will pass on details of media bids to forces who have indicated availability.

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