A new police campaign has been launched to reduce the number of people using mobile phones while driving.
The force hopes the offence will soon be seen as socially unacceptable as drink-driving. Last week, police vehicles fitted with cameras were deployed around the county to catch those flouting the law.
Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “If you take your eyes off the road for just three seconds when doing 70mph you will travel further than the length of a football pitch. Ask yourself: what could happen in that time?”
Drivers using their phone now face six points on their licence and a £200 fine after new legislation was introduced earlier this year.
There are very few exemptions to the rules. The law prohibits the use of hand-held devices even in static or slow-moving traffic, or at traffic lights. However, you can use your phone with your hands if you are parked safely with the engine off.
“Our aim is to make this offence as socially unacceptable as drink-driving,” said Chief Inspector Barnard. “Drivers might not think a momentary glance at a text message is harming anyone, but think of what’s going on around you.
“Hazards on the road, especially when driving at speed, can change so quickly and in that moment if you’re not concentrating 100% you could easily cause a crash, injure or kill someone else, or become a casualty yourself. Is that text message, notification or selfie really worth it?
“The key thing to remember here is that while you’re behind the wheel you are in charge of a machine, a machine which can seriously injure and even kill people if you’re not in proper control.”
Police say using a mobile behind the wheel is one of the ‘fatal four’ traffic offences, along with drink/drug-driving, driving too fast, and failing to wear a seatbelt.
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