Week long crackdown by Suffolk Police to target drivers using phones starts today

If you're caught behind the wheel on your phone you face a 200 fine along with six points on your licence.
If you're caught behind the wheel on your phone you face a 200 fine along with six points on your licence.

Suffolk Police will be targeting drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel in a week long crackdown.

Officers will be patrolling in unmarked cars and motorcycles as part of Operation Ringtone from today, coinciding with the national campaign against motorists using their phones whilst driving.

Drivers can expect to clock up six penalty points on their licence and a £200 fine if caught. Last year, Suffolk Police handed out 1179 penalty notices for the offence with over 60 of those given during the force's last week long campaign in the summer.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Roads Police and Firearms Operations Unit, said: "We believe driving whilst using a mobile phone is just as dangerous as drink- or drug-driving and are determined to make it as socially unacceptable as those offences.

"Mobile phones in vehicles are a distraction and can cause serious or even fatal collisions. A momentary glance down at your phone means you are not paying full attention to the road and are not in proper control of your vehicle."

Last year the government increased the penalty for being caught behind the wheel using a phone.

Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly we see it all too often. I hope the increased penalties will be the catalyst for change."

Cllr Jane Storey, chairman of the Suffolk Roadsafe Board, said: "Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen.

"We know we can't change the attitudes and actions of all drivers overnight. We now have stricter penalties, so we need to continue with education campaigns and more police enforcement to stop people using their mobile phones while driving."