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169 drivers caught using mobile phones in Norfolk and Suffolk in the week tougher penalties were introduced

PUBLISHED: 10:40 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:42 16 March 2017

Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

More than 160 people were caught driving while using a mobile phone in Norfolk and Suffolk in the week that tougher penalties were introduced for offenders.

Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Police carried out patrols in marked and unmarked cars and bikes in a bid to target drivers using their mobile behind the wheel as part of Operation Ringtone.

The week-long campaign between March 1 and March 7 coincided with changes in legislation which doubled the penalties for drivers caught using a mobile behind the wheel.

Under the new law, which came into effect on March 1, offenders will be given a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.

MORE: Driving instructor among 13 motorists caught using their phones behind the wheel in Norwich, just hours after tougher penalties are introduced

Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Roads policing officers issued 53 tickets in Norfolk while officers in Suffolk issued 116.

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

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing & Firearms Operations Unit, said: “These new penalties will have a significant impact on young motorists as well as those drivers who already have points on their licence.

Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Norfolk Police stopping drivers using mobile phones along Unthank Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“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.

Those caught during the campaign in Norwich included a woman who was replying to a text which said her lost dog had been found, a woman texting while holding a coffee and a driver instructor who was teaching a student.

MORE: Will fines to drivers using their mobile phones make a difference?

Chief Insp Barnard added: “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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