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Driving instructors caught by police in Suffolk using mobile phones at the wheel

PUBLISHED: 14:24 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 16 March 2017

Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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More than 100 Suffolk drivers have already been slapped with £200 fines and six points on their licence since new rules came in punishing mobile phone use at the wheel.

Police cars. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice cars. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Among those caught across Suffolk and Norfolk were driving instructors and delivery drivers, said police.

Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies held a week-long campaign from March 1 from March 7 to coincide with new legislation which doubled the penalties for drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving.

There were 116 tickets issued to Suffolk drivers and police carried out patrols in marked and unmarked cars and bikes in a bid to target drivers as part of Operation Ringtone.

Officers in Norfolk, by comparison, issued 53 tickets.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said, “I really hope that the new penalties that drivers face for using their mobile phone will finally make those who continue to fault the law take note.

“I find it particularly shocking that drivers who rely on their licence for their livelihood have been caught during this campaign – surely no call is worth losing your job for.

“Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly we see it all too often. I hope the increased penalties will be the catalyst for change.”

Driving while using a mobile phone is classified as 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.

The new changes will have a significant impact on young motorist offenders – anyone who receives six points in the first two years after passing their test will lose their licence.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing and firearms operations unit, said: “My hope is that these new penalties act as a wake-up call to drivers, especially professional drivers who rely on their licence to make a living.

“A number of professionals – driving instructors and delivery drivers – were stopped during this campaign and that phone call or text could seriously cost them.

“No text or call is that important it’s worth risking your licence for, or worst still causing injury or death.”

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