‘Driving while unlawfully on a mobile phone means you are not properly in control of your vehicle and can very easily be involved in a collision’ - this is the Met’s message at the start of the National Police Chief Council’s (NPCC) national week of action focussing on the unlawful use of hand-held mobile devices while driving.
The Roads and Transport Policing Command, in partnership with Transport for London, is leading the Met’s week of activity and enforcement, commencing on Monday, 22 January, to address this offence.
They will particularly be patrolling collision hotspot areas in an unmarked HGV cab, which gives them the upper hand as they are able to see - from their elevated position - motorists driving while using a phone. The cab is also fitted with cameras to evidentially film non-compliant drivers. Officers who spot any unlawful behaviour by motorists, lorry drivers, cyclists and other road users will then notify policing colleagues to intercept them.
The week of action also coincides with Operation Safeway, the RTPC’s operation to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads; rid London’s roads of the most dangerous road crime offenders; and, educate all road users about their responsibilities to make the roads safer.
Officers on Op Safeway will take a robust approach to enforcing road traffic legislation of all road users - cars, lorries, HGVs, cyclists and motorcyclists - found committing traffic offences such as travelling too fast, failure to wear seat belts, red light violation, failure to comply with advanced stop lines, vehicle defects and no insurance. In addition, road safety advice and information will be provided to the public, where appropriate.
Commander Neil Jerome, from the Territorial Policing Command, said: “The Met is working hard to reduce collisions and the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads.
“Throughout the week of action, traffic officers will be focussed on non-compliant motorists who unlawfully use hand-held mobile devices while driving, or commit other road violations which pose a very real danger to themselves, other drivers and pedestrians.
“This is about reminding all road users of the importance of keeping themselves and others safe when on London's roads and that means concentrating on safe driving.”
Steve Burton, Director of Transport for London’s Compliance and Policing at Transport for London, said: “Using a handheld phone or other devices, such as tablets, while driving is both selfish and dangerous as it makes drivers four times more likely to be involved in a collision, which could have tragic consequences. This police led Mobile Phone Week of Action shows that this type of dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated.
“As part of our Vision Zero approach to create a road network which is free from death or seriously injury, we’re working with the police to crack down on dangerous drivers who put themselves and other road users at risk, by enforcing offences such as using mobile phones, speeding or dangerous driving.”