All most 8000 motorists were caught in a single week driving whilst on the phone. The police ran a crackdown during a week in November where they caught 7966 drivers committing the crime, leading to over 7800 fixed penalty notices and 68 court summons. In total, 10,012 people were stopped, with 117 being punished for driving whilst distracted. The list of offences went beyond just using a phone with even driving whilst eating being punishable.
It has been illegal to use the phone behind the wheel, with the minimum current punishment being 3 points on a licence and a £100 fine, going up to £1000 fine and a court summons. HGV drivers and buses can face up to £2500 fines. From the 1st March 2017, the punishment will increase to 6 points and a £200 fine.
The police’s reasoning for the high number of convictions was the introduction of new policing techniques, which included unmarked vans and motorbike-mounted officers with cameras patrolling the streets. The police were assisted by community spotters, who informed the force of offence hot spots. Before last November, the police had never seen offence numbers as high as this, with the most successful week-long clampdown catching only 2690 motorists on the phone.
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