Nearly 500 drivers in Hertfordshire hit with £200 fines and six penalty points

PUBLISHED: 15:32 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:39 26 October 2017

Herts Police are cracking down on drivers using their mobile phones on the move.

Herts Police are cracking down on drivers using their mobile phones on the move.

Archant

Forty rogue drivers in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and Potters Bar, were among those to be slapped with a £200 fine and six points on their licence after using their mobile phone while driving.

In total, 493 motorists have been caught using handheld mobile phones while driving in Hertsfordshire since the penalties doubled earlier this year.

The figure of 493 is for all those caught between March and September.

Excluding drivers on the A1(M) and M25, 14 tickets were dished out in Welwyn Garden City, 16 in Hatfield and 10 in Potters Bar.

Drivers caught twice face a lengthy ban, which could also then lead to a £1,000 fine.

While new drivers, who have passed within the last two years, face having their licence revoked if caught just once.

Sergeant Ian Manley, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “If you use a mobile phone whilst driving you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision.

“We need to educate drivers that this behaviour is completely unacceptable.

“Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but that of other innocent road users.”

Yesterday, the Highways England campaign THINK! launched its latest campaign, which features a video directed by the people behind the music video for Pharrell William’s hit Happy.

The campaign asks young drivers to put their phone away by highlighting just what you miss when you glance at it while driving.

According to the latest research young drivers are less likely to consider mobile phone use a dangerous behaviour.

The four-week campaign, which also includes two radio adverts, is running in cinemas, online and on social media.

THINK! is urging Android smartphone users to download the Car Mode app or if using an iPhone, its drive safe mode, which automatically detects when you’re driving, and silences incoming calls and messages.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “The RAC’s latest research reveals that the problem is still at epidemic proportions with a hard core of drivers persisting in texting, talking, tweeting and even taking photos at the wheel.

“We therefore welcome THINK!’s thought-provoking video, which highlights the dangers of a two-second glance at your phone while driving.

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, said: “Driving while distracted by a mobile phone is completely unacceptable and puts everyone on the roads at risk of serious harm.

“Police are making use of the tougher penalties to clamp down on this dangerous behaviour – but we have to be clear that when you get behind the wheel it is your responsibility to stay focused and alert.

“As this campaign makes clear, it only takes a few seconds of distraction to change lives forever.”

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