What happened when we went on patrol with police targeting mobile phone drivers
Within 10 minutes of us riding along with Suffolk police as part of their campaign to stop motorists using phones at the wheel, Pc Jake Lees had spotted a driver on their mobile in Ipswich.
The roads and armed policing officer, on the lookout for offenders as part of the two-week Operation Ringtone crackdown, saw the driver travelling in the opposite direction of London Road, just after 9am, near the Chantry estate.
Minutes later, in the car park of the Mermaid pub, the 50-year-old driver was handed six penalty points and a £200 fine.
“Nine out of 10 people accept they've committed an offence and put their hands up,” said Pc Lees.
“Some think they're indestructible, but they're as vulnerable as the next person.
“This campaign is a lot to do with education. Road users need to be aware of why it's an offence - that it's a distraction from driving, and you're putting yourself and others in danger.”
During the last campaign, in September, officers issued 99 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs).
The consequences are costly, in terms of fines and impact on insurance - but they could be deadly, with research showing drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a crash when using their phone.
Using a mobile phone at the wheel is one of the 'fatal four' offences most likely to result in death or serious injury, along with drink-driving, speed and not wearing a seatbelt.
Pc Lees' morning was not just taken up by mobile phone users.
The driver of a recently repaired BMW, being transported to a garage along the A14, was fined £100 for not displaying a trade plate on the front bumper.
Two miles down the road, at the Seven Hills interchange, Pc Lees spotted a Peugeot with a faulty brake light and pulled the driver over near police headquarters.
A vehicle check established the car was being driven otherwise in accordance with a licence, by a 26-year-old Ipswich woman, who passed her test in 2012 but failed to send the certificate to the DVLA within the required two years.
“Some people might think a faulty brake light isn't a big deal, but getting it fixed could prevent a cyclist or motorcyclist colliding with the back of a vehicle in the dark,” warned Pc Lees.
“Often, drivers haven't realised the fault, so stopping them could help prevent something later on.
“This driver had been aware of the defect for a couple of days.
“In terms of the licence, she's fallen foul of the system, but those systems are in place for a reason.”
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