Motorists who use mobile phone behind the wheel in Norfolk and Suffolk to face tougher sanctions as new law comes into force

Norfolk Police stopping drivers who are using mobile phones along Yarmouth Road in Norwich. PC Adria

Norfolk Police stopping drivers who are using mobile phones along Yarmouth Road in Norwich. PC Adrian Jarvis talking to a driver. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Motorists in Norfolk and Suffolk who use their phones to text and talk behind the wheel will from today face tougher penalties following a change in the law.

And to coincide with the change in legislation, which means offenders will now receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine, police in Norfolk and Suffolk are targeting drivers use their phones as part of a national campaign.

The campaign, named locally as Operation Ringtone, will see additional patrols carried out during the week.

During the most recent campaign, held from January 23 and 29, 102 tickets were issued in Norfolk, with 149 given out in Suffolk.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing, said: 'Using a mobile phone behind the wheel significantly increases your risk of being involved in a crash.

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'If drivers are talking, texting or using the internet on their phones they are distracted from the job at hand and less aware of potential hazards.'

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, who continues to back the Hands Off campaign, added: 'Given the fact more than 100 people were caught driving while using a mobile phone in January's clampdown it is clear a number of drivers are intent on breaking the law.

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'While I fully support increased enforcement campaigns like this to target offenders and bring them to justice this is equally about social responsibility. Few people claim never to have seen someone texting or talking while driving. Put quite simply, dangerous driving kills and there is no excuse for it.'

Iain Temperton, casualty reduction team manager for Norfolk County Council, said 'I would urge all drivers to consider their responsibilities when behind the wheel. Driving a car on our busy road network takes concentration, diverting your attention to chat on the phone increases the risk to yourself and everyone around you.

'The penalty has been increased for a good reason, use this as the incentive not to take the risk.'

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