Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Police Targeting Drivers on Phone

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Police Targeting Drivers on Phone

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@trinitymirror.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

FINES are set to double for drivers caught using their mobile while at the wheel.

And the Government also plans to double the number of penalty points motorists could receive for the offence to six - providing an even greater deterrent.

Despite the number of people being caught using a phone while driving dropping sharply, police have launched a crackdown on the offence this week.

Inspector Harry Simpson, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU), which polices the roads in Cleveland and Durham, said any drivers taking the risk of using a phone could expect no second chances.

What are the plans? All drivers caught will automatically now earn penalty points on their licence - with no option of a driving course which in some instances would see motorists avoid the extra punishment.

This could have a huge effect on new drivers in their two-year probationary period, as their licence will be revoked if they receive six penalty points.

The fine will increase to PS200 from the current PS100 fine, when the changes come into effect in March.

If the case goes to court the offender can also be disqualified from driving or riding, and get a maximum fine of PS1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of PS2,500.

Why are the government doing this? The change has come after the jailing of lorry driver Tomasz Kroker who killed a mum and her three children after being on his phone.

Tomasz was sentenced to 10 years . Dozens of others have been injured or killed because of accidents.

It was back in September when the government first announced that it would increase the punishment.

Police are down on the How many drivers are caught in Teesside? From January 1 to December 31 last year, across the Cleveland and Durham force areas there were 720 offences of drivers using their mobile phones and a further 67 found to be not in proper control of their vehicle. …

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