Police to hold a day of action

Tayside Police, along with all other police forces in Scotland, will launch a 24-hour campaign aimed at drivers committing mobile phone offences at 7am tomorrow (Wednesday, September 12).

The campaign aims to further remind and educate drivers of the dangers associated with the use of mobile phones and the impact this can have on road safety. Where necessary, road traffic legislation will be enforced in respect of these offences.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of the Tayside Police Road Policing Unit, said: “The consequences of a momentary lapse in concentration when driving can be devastating to road users and pedestrians. As soon as a driver answers a call, looks at their phone to text or read a message, their concentration is obviously divided and as a result, they cannot give their full attention to the road and the ever-changing road and traffic conditions around them.

“With the greater use of smart phones, drivers need to be aware that it is not just making a call or texting that are distractions but using a phone to access applications, e-mails or the internet. These actions carry the same danger, hence, the same penalty.

“Even the simple process of looking at caller ID can be enough to provide that split second distraction that results in a collision. No phonecall or use of phones for the multiplicity of applications that they now have, can be so urgent that a driver needs to commit an offence by using it or answering it whilst the vehicle is in motion.

“Remember to switch off before you drive off and pick up any missed calls or texts when it is safe and convenient to do so. If you need to use the phone when driving, then stop at the first safe opportunity - Divert your phone, not your attention.

“If you are distracted as a result of using your mobile phone and you are involved in a collision, at best you will get a fine and points on your licence, at worst you risk death or serious injury to yourself or other innocent parties. Ask yourself if you would want a momentary lapse of concentration to be on your conscience. The message is clear - Don’t risk it.”

The penalty for a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (COFPN) for this offence is £60 and three points endorsement on your driving licence. If the matter subsequently goes to court the maximum fine is £1,000. For the drivers of Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs) and Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCVs) the maximum fine is increased to £2,500. In addition to this the holders of vocational licences LGVs and PCVs are also reported to the Traffic Commissioner who can impose additional sanctions which can include restriction on driving these vehicles with obvious consequences for employment and livelihood.

Whilst the enforcement of mobile phone offences will be the focus of this campaign, other offences which have a direct impact on road safety such as speeding and failure to wear seat belts will also be targeted.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman said: “We all want to use the roads safely and it has been proven that, in the event of a collision, seat belts save lives. Make sure drivers and passengers all wear them, ask ‘Have You Clicked?’, on each and every journey.”

Motorists should be aware that speed limits vary according to the type of vehicle. Information relating to speed limits can be found in the Highway Code and also on the Tayside Safety Camera Partnership TSCP website at www.safetayside.co.uk or via e-mail to safetayside@tayside.pnn.police.uk