Police use HGVs to crackdown on motorists who drive while using mobile phones
Police getting heavy on mobile phone use
Cambridgeshire police are taking to the county’s roads in a HGV as part of their fight against motorists who use mobile phones.
The move comes as penalties are increased for those caught in the act. From today (March 1), the penalty for driving while using a mobile phone doubles to six points on the licence and a £200 fine. For drivers with less than two years’ experience, that could mean a ban for a single offence.
Highways England has provided the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire road policing unit (RPU) with the HGV cab to assist with enforcement.
The vehicle has room for two officers and gives them a better vantage point to help catch offenders who may be driving larger vehicles. The agency has also provided funding to train police officers to get a HGV licence.
Sgt Ian Manley, of the RPU, said: “The HGV cab provides us with extra enforcement opportunities which we wouldn’t have in standard police vehicles. It’s great to have the support of Highways England in enforcing this change in the legislation.”
He added: “If you use a mobile phone while driving, you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision. We need to educate the public that this behaviour is completely unacceptable.”
Jason Ablewhite, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Together we must do everything we can to make using mobile phones while driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving.”
Anthony Thorpe, Highways England assistant project manager, added: “Safety is our top priority, and I am pleased that our HGV cab will now be helping police in the East of England.”
In the first 11 months of last year, 960 drivers were caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel in Cambridgeshire. The total for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire was 2,796.