571 motorists were caught using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel during the 2015 All-Wales Anti-Mobile Phone While Driving Campaign.
The enforcement campaign, which ran between September 24 and October 7, involved road safety partners and urged all road users to ‘keep their eyes on the road’ and not be distracted by answering their mobile phone, reading a text or going online.
Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
Led by Dyfed Powys Police, officers from all four Welsh police forces and GoSafe carried out proactive patrols to target motorists who endangered other road users through this behaviour and educated drivers on the penalties they faced if caught. The campaign was supported by social media messages from the South Wales Police Roads Policing team @SWP_Roads using the hashtag #eyesontheroad.
During the campaign, officers detected a total of 571 mobile phone driving offences throughout Wales and issued 177 warnings. In the South Wales area 57 drivers were dealt with by police officers.
Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police and NPCC All Wales lead on Roads Policing, Carl Langley said:
“Although fewer motorists were caught in this year’s campaign, it remains a serious concern that so many drivers choose to risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal collision due to using a mobile phone whilst driving. Our warning is clear, even the most experienced or competent of drivers can be easily distracted and a slight lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences”.
Inspector Steve Davies, South Wales Police Roads Policing Unit said:
“Drivers often don’t realise the extent to which they can be distracted by using their mobile phone and the dangers this can cause to themselves, other road users and pedestrians. It is those split seconds checking a text or making a call that can have a devastating impact.
“In the event of a serious or fatal collision, the mobile phone of the driver is seized and interrogated to see if it was being used at the time of the collision. It is never worth the risk”.
During the campaign officers also detected 200 other offences whilst carrying out checks – they included offences known to contribute to fatal and serious collisions, such as drink and drug driving, speed, not wearing a seat belt, carelessness, no insurance, drugs and construction and use offences.
- Don’t make or answer calls when you’re driving
All phone calls distract drivers’ attention from the road. You can pick up any missed calls or texts when it is safe and convenient to do so. If you need to use the phone when driving, then stop at the first safe opportunity
- It’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road even if you’ve stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam or are in a car park
All these situations are covered by the legal definition of ‘driving on the road’.
- Park safely before using your mobile phone
Do not park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
- Don’t call other people when they’re driving
If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
Further information regarding the Go Safe partnership is available via their website www.gosafe.org