Dozens of motorists caught using mobiles after introduction of new penalties

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Dozens of motorists caught using mobiles after introduction of new penalties

Coinciding with tougher penalties for drivers caught using a phone at the wheel, which came into force on 1 March, police forces across the country began a week-long crackdown on illegal phone use.

According to the RAC, since the new legislation was introduced dozens of motorists have already been caught using a handheld phone.

One incident saw a woman stopped by police in Norfolk when she was caught replying to a message about her lost puppy being found, while a lorry driver was caught using his phone while driving on a roundabout in Bournemouth.

Police will release the full figures at the end of the crackdown, however, it is already known that:

• By midday on Wednesday, Dorset Police had stopped some 31 drivers

Kent's Road Policing Unit stopped 12 drivers on Wednesday morning

Thames Valley Police stopped 11 people.

All of the above motorists were stopped after being caught using their phones whilst driving.

The tougher punishments were introduced after research showed the practice of drivers using phones at the wheel was becoming increasingly commonplace.

As plenty of drivers find it socially acceptable to use a phone at the wheel, RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams, warned that it would take a lot of effort to change behaviours.

Williams added: "The fact is, it's not okay – in 2015, 22 fatal accidents were caused by drivers choosing to use a phone while driving. Tragically, these could have been easily avoided.

"The change in the law and work by police forces across the country this week will help send out the message that using a handheld phone is unacceptable."

He also urged drivers to take more personal responsibility when they get behind the wheel.

Do you think the new laws will make mobile phone use at the wheel less socially acceptable?

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