Officers from four Welsh police forces – Powys, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire – are working to “educate road users on the risks of using a mobile phone while driving”, along with GoSafe, a partnership also involving unitary authorities an the Welsh Government that aims to make people safer on Welsh roads.
They are also making it clear that these days it “doesn’t take one of our officers to catch those using their phones at the wheel”.
They add that people can “upload evidence, such as footage from dashcams, GoPro-type cameras, or mobile phones, to most forces these days.”
A statement from Dyfed-Powys Police says: “This means that anyone could be capturing evidence of offending that could be used to prosecute a phone using driver.”
They want to encourage the minority who choose risk over safety to make the safer choice.
This week sees the start of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) National Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving Operation. They want phones to be switched off or put away from sight.
Superintendent Clark Jones-John said: “Driving and using a mobile phone do not mix. It is dangerous and could end in disaster.
“While driving our focus should only be on the road and our driving environment. By putting our mobile phones aside for the duration of a journey we will be playing our part in keeping our roads safe.”
The police point to the RAC Report on Motoring which repeatedly recorded that the use of mobile phones while driving has been the top concern for motorists in recent years.
They say this comes as no surprise when research shows motorists using their mobile phone while driving have poorer lane discipline and take longer to react to hazards; risking the safety of all road users.
The police statement adds: “Research has shown that if you use a mobile phone while driving you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision and your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive; which to three times slower if you use a handheld phone increases.”
Police officers are asking drivers to make safety their first choice when driving, and to resist the temptation to look at and use their mobile phones for calls, texts, music playlists, social media, sat-nav or any other distracting apps.
They add: “Just like wearing a seatbelt at the start of a journey is second nature, why not turn your mobile off at the start of every journey?
“Or, place your mobile in a signal blocking pouch or out of reach in your glove compartment?
“You can even set up your mobile to automatically send a message to anyone who calls or texts you informing them you are driving and will contact them as soon as you have reached your destination.”
The forces say that their aim is to make Welsh roads safer for everyone and through educating road users on the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving and encouraging more people to think – Is that call or text really that important? – they hope that more people will stand up for hanging up.
People can pledge their support for the campaign on social media using the hashtags #StandingUpFor HangingUp and #Fatal5.