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Police target mobile phone users as part of national campaign

An annual national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving has returned. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police's Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit will be supporting the campaign from the National Police Chiefs' Council, which runs until 12 March. Using a mobile phone while driving is one of the 'fatal four' factors that can significantly increase your chances of being involved in a collision where you or others are seriously injured or killed on our roads. The other three causes are speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Our previous road safety campaign, Operation Holly, saw 737 arrests made across both force areas for a variety of offences, with 286 arrests in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight alone. We will be conducting proactive patrols and safety checks across our road network to catch drivers risking their lives and the lives of other motorists by using their phone while driving. Aside from the devastating consequences of a collision, drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving face a £200 fine and six points on their licence for a one-time offence, to a lengthy ban and a £1,000 fine for those caught twice. New drivers – those who have passed within two years of being caught – face having their licence revoked if caught just once. Chief Inspector Chris Spellerberg, of the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit, said: "Using a mobile phone while driving is unacceptable, reckless and incredibly dangerous. Just being distracted from the road ahead of you for a split second could result in a serious crash. "You are far more likely to be involved in a serious injury or fatal collision if you use your phone while driving. Focusing on the road and traffic conditions is always more important than using a mobile phone. "Even hands free devices can be distracting enough to divert your attention away at a critical moment." On Friday 24 February, HGV driver Michal Kopaniarz was jailed for 12 years for killing three motorists in a crash because he was using his mobile phone while driving. Shocking dash-cam footage showed Kopaniarz paid no attention to the road ahead of him as he was typing on his phone seconds before the crash. CI Spellerberg added: "The horrifying consequences of such a reckless decision were clear to see from this case. "Kopaniarz tore apart three families because of his selfish actions. I hope the strong sentence given by the judge acts as a warning to anyone thinking of doing the same. "Nothing on your phone could possibly be worth causing that much pain and devastation. It is simply not worth the risk." “We will continue to support NPCC road safety operations and our commitment to road safety remains all year-round” For road safety advice, please visit: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rs/road-safety/driving-mobile-device-use/


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