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Police catch 50 drivers using mobiles in first two days of campaign

PUBLISHED: 15:34 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 30 January 2018

Suffolk County Council's Jane Storey and Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with the Road Casualty Reduction Team at the launch of Operation Ringtone.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council's Jane Storey and Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore with the Road Casualty Reduction Team at the launch of Operation Ringtone. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police caught almost as many drivers using mobile phones in the first two days of a campaign as they did during an entire week’s purge last year.

Despite the widely publicised launch of Operation Ringtone in Ipswich, at least 50 drivers across the county chose to put their licences, purses and safety in jeopardy by picking up the phone while behind the wheel in the first two days.

Officers followed up on their promise to carry out patrols in marked and unmarked vehicles throughout this week issuing 26 traffic offence reports on Monday and 24 the following day.

Acting Sergeant Neil Clarke, from the roads policing and firearms operation unit, said: “The first day of Operation Ringtone saw a number of incidents, including one on the A140 at Stonham one of our high risk cluster sites where a person caught using their mobile phone while driving asked to be let off, but was issued with a traffic offence report (TOR).

“A second incident occurred where a driver drove through the traffic light controlled roundabout on the A12 at Copdock while on their mobile phone. They were also issued with a TOR.

Police at the launch of Operation Ringtone in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice at the launch of Operation Ringtone in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Two drivers were dealt with in the magistrates’ court for driving with mobile phone offences and both were found guilty. One was found guilty in his absence. They received fines, endorsements and had to pay court costs.

“Drivers should be aware that officers deal with these offences robustly as part of the “fatal four” offences, and will continue to conduct the operation in both marked and unmarked cars.”

Operation Ringtone was launched at Ipswich waterfront on Monday, in line with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

The campaign includes a week of patrols as part of an effort to combat the “fatal four” main factors in collisions resulting in death and serious injury (speeding, seatbelts, mobile devices and drink/drug driving).

Last year, when penalties were increased to six points and a £200 fine, 1,179 notices were issued in Suffolk for driving while using a phone – with 62 people caught during a week of action in July.

Licences will be cancelled if drivers incur six or more points within two years of passing their driving test.

It is also an offence to use a phone while a vehicle is stationary with the engine running.

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