Warwickshire Police asks drivers not to use a handheld mobile phone

Warwickshire Police is asking drivers and those supervising learner drivers not to use a handheld mobile phone whilst driving because as well as being illegal it is one of the top 4 causes of death and injury on our roads alongside not wearing a seatbelt, drink and drug driving and speeding.

Officers are asking passengers too to allow the driver to concentrate on the road at all times and not to distract them.  

Sergeant Shaun Bridle said “When you are driving, your safety, the safety of your passengers and the safety of other road users is paramount.  It is essential that you keep your full attention on the road.

“Whoever you are texting or calling, whether parents, family, or friends, really would not want you to have a collision because you are distracted by them, potentially injuring yourself or someone else.”

“As well as using a handheld mobile phone to text or call whilst driving it is also illegal and dangerous to use social media apps, select music, or check emails when you should be focussing on the road ahead. “

Sadly, our statistics are proof of how dangerous this is.  In 2021, officers attended three serious and one fatal collision where using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor.

It’s not just mobile phones that can distract you, changing the channel on the radio, chatting to a passenger, and having children in the car can all hinder your concentration when driving. In 2021 driving whilst distracted was a contributory factor in ten serious and one fatal collision. Seven of these collisions occurred in the morning. 

The safest thing to do is to wait until you are safely parked before using your mobile, or other device.

Please follow these top tips to avoid distractions while driving:-

  • Turn your mobile phone off before you drive and put it out of reach to avoid temptation
  • Keep the volume down on your phone and set the music playing before you set off
  • Set the sat nav destination before leaving.  Rely more on voice instructions rather than staring at the screen so you keep your eyes on the road
  • Stop to eat and drink.  Don’t snack at the wheel
  • Talk later.  Save in depth conversations for when the journey is over.
  • Passengers please don’t do anything that could distract the driver even for a moment.
  • Tell work, friends and family that you will check your phone regularly, but you will not use your mobile phone to respond to them whilst driving because you need to concentrate on driving

Chair of Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership and Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said “Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is working with Approved Driving Instructors to educate young drivers around the risks of being distracted whilst driving.  This is because we know that a young driver’s risk of crashing increases by 12% for every passenger in the car.  As well as teaching a young person to drive, Approved Driving Instructors use The Honest Truth to also teach the essential decision-making skills that new drivers need to stay safe when first driving on their own.”

“This initiative is one of many that we hope will help the Partnership achieve the ambitious target of reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads by 50% by 2030.”

The public can play a part too in improving road safety by using Op Snap to report and submit digital footage showing potential moving traffic offences such as using a mobile phone while driving to Warwickshire Police where the evidence will be reviewed by one of our road traffic police officers. Your footage may also be used to help educate other road users. For more information please visit https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/operation-snap

Throughout February we will be using social media to raise awareness of the risks and consequences of using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving using #StandingUpForHangingUp.  Please follow the campaign on social media on Facebook @WarwickshirePolice and @WarwickshireRoadSafety and Twitter @WarksPolice and @WarksRoadSafety

Using a mobile phone whilst driving attracts 6 points and a £200 fine and even if you are using a mobile phone or other device legally, if you are driving whilst not being in proper control of your vehicle you could face 3 points and £100 fine.

In Warwickshire during 2021, 348 drivers received fixed penalty notices for driving whilst using a mobile phone.

To understand the effect that driving whilst distracted could have on you please try this interactive game from The Open University Are you a focused driver? – OpenLearn – Open University

Visit https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law for more information

Visit www.warksroadsafety.org.uk for more information on Warwickshire’s Road Safety ‘Strategy to 2030

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