Police enforce phone law
POLICE across North Yorkshire are set to be out and about enforcing the tougher penalties that come in to force today for drivers caught using hand-held phones.
Those caught face a £60 penalty notice and three points on their licence - or, for those who take their case to court, possible disqualification and a fine of up to £1,000. A bus or lorry driver could be fined up to £2,500.
The tougher penalties come as police bosses reveal that 2,488 drivers received fixed penalty tickets for the offence in the county in the last 12 months.
"Being fined and getting licence points is a great option when you consider the alternative for those mixing driving and using a hand-held phone - losing control because you are not concentrating properly, then crashing and injuring yourself or some innocent road user," said Road Policing Inspector Chris Charlton.
He stressed that North Yorkshire Police do not see either as being an acceptable option. "There is a body of scientific research that shows clearly that drivers using a hand-held phone have their concentration impaired, and have less control over their vehicles. You have to have full concentration and full physical involvement to maintain full control of a potentially deadly machine weighing over a ton."
We will continue to deal firmly and decisively with drivers who risk their own and other people's lives
Inspector Chris Charlton - North Yorkshire Police
Whilst welcoming the tougher penalties, the force stresses there will be no change in officers' enforcement strategies and that the offence is already viewed seriously.
"All officers know the dangers of inappropriate phone use, and all are ready to deal with it when ever possible. The increase in penalties is welcome and is undoubtedly a deterrent, but the bottom line for us is that we have the power and the motivation to deal with a dangerous and irresponsible action.
"Because the legislation relates to penalties rather than offences, there will be no "honeymoon" period for drivers to get used to the new penalties.
"For us the 27th will be just another day. We will continue to deal firmly and decisively with drivers who risk their own and other people's lives. It will be business as usual."