Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit to use new HGV cab to catch motorists on mobile phones – as penalty for the offence doubles
PUBLISHED: 15:54 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:54 27 February 2017
Police in Beds, Herts and Cambs will now have the benefit of a new HGV cab to help catch motorists who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit have been provided with the cab from Highways England, and this coincides with a change in the law – which means the penalty for driving while using a mobile phone will double to six points and a £200 fine from Wednesday next week.
Sgt Ian Manley said: “Having the HGV cab provides us with extra enforcement opportunities which we wouldn’t have in standard police vehicles.
“It’s great to have the support of Highways England in enforcing this change in the legislation.”
Doubling the points means drivers with less than two years’ experience could get a ban for one offence.
The HGV cab has room for two officers and provides a better vantage point to help catch offenders who may be driving larger vehicles. They have also provided funding to train extra police officers to enable them to get a HGV licence.
Cambs police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “Too many lives have already been devastated by the horrific consequences of people using mobile phones behind the wheel. I would rather people lost their licences than innocent people their lives. Together we must do everything we can to make using mobile phones whilst driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving.
“If you use a mobile phone whilst driving you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision. We need to educate the public that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but that of other innocent road users.”
Highways England assistant project manager Anthony Thorpe said: “Safety is our top priority, and I am pleased that our HGV cab will now be helping police in the East of England to identify unsafe behaviour on the motorways and major A roads after having already proved successful in other parts of the country. It provides an ideal viewing platform for police officers to identify dangerous behaviour that can be difficult to spot from standard police patrol vehicles – for example texting while driving. Highways England is committed to working collaboratively with our partners in the police to improve road safety by influencing driver behaviour by this and other initiatives.”
In the first 11 months of last year, the total number of people caught using mobile phones in Beds, Cambs and Herts was 2,796.