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Put It Away

Police in Norfolk and Suffolk will be targeting drivers who text and talk behind the wheel as part of a national campaign.

Roads policing officers from both counties will carry out extra patrols during the week-long enforcement campaign from Wednesday (1 March) which coincides with a change in legislation. 

Under new law, which comes into effect on Wednesday, drivers found committing this offence will now receive six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine.

 The campaign, named locally as Operation Ringtone, will see additional patrols carried out between 1 and 7 March.

 During the most recent campaign, held in January (23-29), 102 tickets were issued in Norfolk, while 149 were issued in Suffolk.

Driving while using a mobile phone is one of the ‘fatal four’ offences which makes you more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision; alongside speeding, drink driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing & Firearms Operations Unit, said: “Using a mobile phone behind the wheel significantly increases your risk of being involved in a crash. If drivers are talking, texting or using the internet on their phones they are distracted from the job at hand and less aware of potential hazards.”

Commenting on the new penalties, Ch Insp Barnard added: “These new changes will have a significant impact on young motorist offenders as they now risk having their driving licence revoked following a first offence.”

Police in Norfolk and Suffolk work closely with partner agencies, including Think! Norfolk Road Safety Partnership and the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership, to educate drivers and improve safety. A lot of work is focused on the fatal four motoring offences of drink driving, speeding, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt.

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, who is a member of Suffolk Roadsafe Board, said: “When you use a mobile phone behind the wheel you are not only risking your own life, but also the lives of others around you.

“I hope these tougher penalties will act as a further deterrent to those who think it is OK to use their mobile phone while driving.”