Police warn of 'absolute danger' of using a mobile phone while driving (24 Sept 2015)

Police in West Yorkshire are supporting a national campaign to warn people of the ''absolute danger'' of using a mobile phone while driving.

Officers from Yorkshire's largest force are using the week-long campaign, which is being led by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), to raise awareness over mobile phone use while driving being one of the 'fatal four' - the name given to the four most common circumstances leading to death on the roads and also including speeding, not wearing a seat belt and drink/drug driving.

Inspector Joanne Field, who leads West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit, said: ''The law banning the use of mobile phones while driving has been in place for over a decade now but we are still seeing thousands of people each year flouting the law and endangering not only themselves but other road users as well.

''The risks associated with using a phone while behind the wheel are very clear.

"Any driver will be distracted by a phone call or text message, It affects the ability to concentrate and anticipate the road ahead, putting the driver and other road users at risk"

Research has shown that driving while using a phone makes you four times more likely to be involved in a collision and studies by the Transport Research Laboratory suggest that using a hand-held mobile while driving can be more dangerous than drink-driving.

Throughout this week, officers from West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Units will be mounting additional proactive patrols to target those who persist with using a mobile phone while driving.

If you are caught using a hand-held phone while driving, you will get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. The points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs. If you are convicted of driving carelessly or dangerously while using a hand-held phone you can be disqualified from driving, receive a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

Drivers are also been warned that they are still at risk of prosecution for failing to have proper control of their vehicle or for careless or reckless driving whilst using a hands-free phone whilst driving .

Inspector Field added: ''With so many people now using mobile devices such as sat-nav systems it's important to remember that if your car is not safely parked and you are using a hand-held mobile you are breaking the law and your actions have the clear potential to endanger your life and those of other road users. The same rules apply if you're waiting at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

''Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the sight of people driving along while holding and talking on their mobile phones. This is not about penalising motorists it's about keeping the roads safer for all of us. Missing a call won't kill you - a collision quite possibly could."

"Figures both locally and nationally show the number of people prosecuted for using a mobile while driving has fallen over recent years so the message is getting through, but we must not rest on our laurels, as this simple act leads to death on the roads'', added Inspector Field.

Mark Burns-Williamson said: "Road safety is an important issue for me and for people across West Yorkshire and I support the NPCC campaign that raises awareness about the serious risks of using a mobile phone whilst driving.

"I have spoken to police officers who have witnessed first-hand the unimaginable consequences that driving whilst on the phone can have and I am determined to work with partners to find local solutions to local problems to help make our roads safer.

"I have previously helped to fund the launch of a hard-hitting DVD called 'It'll All End In Tears' to get the message across about the dangers. The DVD focuses young people on their personal responsibility, the impact of not wearing a seatbelt and of the dangers of using mobile phones or devices whilst driving, not only to themselves, but to their friends, family and local community.

It'll All End In Tears was created by local police and pupils from Minsthorpe Community College and Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy and can be viewed below.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019