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Man caught swiping tablet screen as he drove along A14 at Levington during police crackdown on mobile phone drivers

PUBLISHED: 16:45 15 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:45 15 November 2016

PC Steve Griggs, Sgt Julian Ditcham, PC Tim Murgatroyd and PC Paul Fletcher taking part in Operation Ringtone.

PC Steve Griggs, Sgt Julian Ditcham, PC Tim Murgatroyd and PC Paul Fletcher taking part in Operation Ringtone.

A van driver has today been hit with a £100 fine and three penalty points on his licence after officers spotted him looking down at his tablet whilst driving along the A14.

Police saw the driver swiping the screen of the tablet, which was balanced on his lap, and deemed him to not be in proper control of the vehicle.

He was handed a £100 fine and received three points on his licence.

Earlier today members of the Suffolk and Norfolk roads policing unit hit the region’s highways as part of Operation Ringtone – a week-long national campaign aimed at tackling drivers using mobile phones at the wheel.

So far today officers have fined eight drivers for being on their mobile phones, two were not wearing seat belts and two were not in proper control of their vehicles.

PC Paul Fletcher taking part in Operation RingtonePC Paul Fletcher taking part in Operation Ringtone

However, under new rules being introduced those using their phone at the wheel will be handed even tougher punishments - six penalty points and a fine of £200.

Detective Inspector David Giles, of the serious collision investigation team, joined officers in Key Street, Ipswich today.

He said: “We are taking a tougher stance in relation to the use of mobile phones. It is one of our fatal four that we enforce, the stance has been up to now for first offenders is that we offer them a driving course with a view that then subsequent offences will get points and a fine.

“We’re basically doing away with the driver awareness course as we feel that everyone knows it is illegal, 99% of people surveyed by the Department of Transport survey said they believed it was dangerous, so on that basis we feel it is inappropriate to offer the courses any more.

Operation Ringtone aims to crack down on drivers who use their mobile phones at the wheelOperation Ringtone aims to crack down on drivers who use their mobile phones at the wheel

“Lots of people have phones, lots of people drive and lots of people use their phones while driving. We want to impact on that positively so that we reduce the number of collisions and fatal collisions.”

For more information on the operation, see here.

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