A week-long crackdown in London on drivers using mobile telephones while behind the wheel has snared 2,700 offenders. The campaign by the Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) division of the Met Police was launched to coincide with a law change enacted by the UK government on 1 March.
RTPC officers used unmarked cars in the operation designed to ensure motorists got the message that driving and using mobile phones was a serious offence. The division’s chief-inspector Colin Carswell said he felt frustrated that the message had not got across to the 2,725 drivers who were caught during the week.
The chief-inspector did note that although the figure was high, it was better than in the last campaign in November when 5,000 drivers got tickets for the same offence. He carried on by saying that what was different this time around was more drivers had been caught while sending texts or changing music than with phones stuck to their ears.
He said the team nabbed a van-driver who was typing an e-mail with both hands on an iPad. The chief-inspector added that the first the driver knew he had been caught on camera was when he knocked on the van’s window.
The new legislation increased the penalties for using a phone and driving to six penalty points and a £200 fine. The law change also means younger drivers getting the six points inside the first two years after passing their tests are automatically disqualified.