Mobile phone drivers face crackdown

POLICE in Suffolk have vowed to clampdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving after admitting people are failing to take the law seriously.

POLICE in Suffolk have vowed to clampdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving after admitting people are failing to take the law seriously.

Chief Inspector Neal Atwell warned those who were caught on their phones while behind the wheel, without using a hands free kit, would now be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

He was speaking yesterday at a roads safety briefing at Endeavour House in Ipswich which also featured Guy McGregor, county council portfolio holder for roads and transport, and assistant chief fire officer, Gary Phillips.

The trio were promoting Suffolk Roadsafe - a joint initiative involving a number of agencies with the aim of driving down the number of accidents and deaths on the county's highways - ahead of National Road Safety Week which starts on November 6.


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Already this year 36 people have been killed on Suffolk's roads, compared to 33 for the whole of 2005 - a statistic that Ch Insp Atwell said is far too high.

He said: “We give countless pieces of advice on a range of roads policing issues but we are not always listened to.

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“This year's figure of 36 deaths is too high and we need to do something about it. The instructions we are putting out to officers is that they need to focus on the enforcement side more firmly than they have done in the past.

“We have been taking a hard line and will continue to do so. Previously drivers may have got a finger wagging for using their mobiles or not wearing a seatbelt but now they will be issued with a fixed penalty notice.”

Motorists pulled over by the police will also be given a leaflet explaining the rules of the road and the consequences of ignoring them.

Suffolk Roadsafe has a number of initiatives currently underway in an effort to educate drivers and improve road awareness.

Road Kill, run by Suffolk Fire Service, targets young offenders between the ages of 14 and 24 convicted of a driving offence who spend time with the victims of road traffic collisions and their families.

Meanwhile for the Learn and Live campaign firefighters visit schools, colleges and youth clubs to show the devastation of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, without wearing a seatbelt or while using a mobile phone.

The Pass Plus scheme run by the county council also offers to pay £75 towards an advanced driving course for those who have just passed their test.

Mr McGregor concluded: “We are all in it together and this is no laughing matter. It is unacceptable to drink and drive and now other behaviour such as speeding is being seen as just as unacceptable.

“I expect the use of mobile phones is also something that makes people scream with rage and I am pleased the police will take it more seriously.”

nFor more details on the schemes and initiatives run by Suffolk Roadsafe visit www.suffolkroadsafe.net

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