Police in St Helens target drivers using mobile phones

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Police in St Helens are taking part in a National Week of Action targeting drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.

It has been illegal to use a mobile device, held in the hand, whilst driving or stopped with the engine on, since December 2003. However, a significant number of drivers are still using devices behind the wheel, in Merseyside and nationally.

It comes in a week when one St Helens driver made national newspapers headlines after giving a ‘laughable’ excuse for texting while driving.

Read our story here.

The campaign will continue until Sunday, and will see officers on motorcycles and unmarked cars and vans throughout Merseyside, as the force looks to highlight the risks and serious penalties of being distracted by mobile phones.

Inspector Keith Kellett, of Matrix Roads Policing, said: “Between January and December in 2016 over 2,300 drivers on Merseyside were stopped using their mobile phones while driving, an offence which can and does contribute to serious road traffic collisions.

“This week of action is to highlight the issue to people who may be guilty of using their devices, but we are continually on the lookout for these offences all year.

“Don’t take the risk: using a mobile phone significantly reduces your driving ability and a lack of concentration whether it is to make a call, send a text message or check social media it can have terrible consequences for yourself and others.”

The fine for using a mobile device is £200 and there are six penalty points given to anyone who is unlawfully using a mobile phone. This could result in new drivers losing their licence for committing a single offence.

It has been illegal to use a mobile device, held in the hand, whilst driving or stopped with the engine on, since December 2003. However, a significant number of drivers are still using devices behind the wheel, in Merseyside and nationally. January 2017 saw 169 mobile phone offences compared to 160 in January 2017.

Insp Kellett added: “Everyone has to be mindful that we take using your mobile phone at the wheel very seriously and we would like people to think before they reach for their phone.

“Merseyside Police is committed to reducing the number of people killed or injured on our roads in 2018 and we are determined to target motorists who flout the law and endanger lives.

“This activity takes place on a daily basis and the ideal scenario for us is that we start to stop less drivers as the messages hit home, which we have seen in relation to drink driving.

“Modern phones have changed how we communicate and the rise in people using them to make calls, text, access social media, take photos and videos, and even check emails when they should be 100 per cent focussed on the road is a concern. There is never an excuse, and drivers should always pull over to a safe place before using their phone.

“People who ignore this advice present a massive danger to other road users, pedestrians and to themselves and their passengers. They are distracted from the road, their attention and reflexes are impaired, and such behaviour is equal to drink and drug driving, and the non-wearing of seatbelts, for sheer recklessness.

“If you know people who use their phones at the wheel, challenge them, make sure your friends and family do not lose their licence, their job, or cause a serious accident through their behaviour.”