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Driver stopped every 20 minutes in Surrey despite new mobile penalties

4 minute read
Driver stopped every 20 minutes in Surrey despite new mobile penalties

Published at 6:01am 3rd March 2017. (Updated at 4:20pm 4th March 2017)

More than 12 drivers were stopped in Surrey in just four hours yesterday for using their mobiles at the wheel. 

It comes just a day after tough new penalties (March 1st) were introduced for the offence.

Six points and a £200 fine is double the previous punishment.

Surrey Police has been running its “It Can Wait” campaign, in advance of the legislative update.

To see if people were taking it on board, we went out with the force to spot drivers breaking the law. 

Last year, officers sent out 1,502 tickets for mobile phone offences.   

The changes come into force as a result of a government consultation with the public.

LISTEN: Hear how the day went below

The law states that the only time you can use a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving is when calling 999 in an emergency. 

Hands-free kits are allowed by law but they can still be an in-car distraction. 

If a police officer thinks you are not in proper control of a vehicle this can also be an offence.

Between around 9.00am and 1.00pm on Thursday (March 2), 12 mobile phone offences were dealt with.

12 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued, all with 6 points and £200 fines.

Two vehicles were also stopped for driving without due care, and were given warnings and one van dealt with for no Insurance.


Drivers gave a number of excuses including; calling their parents, finding out about their child's school place, and sending a text to their work because they were late. 

Some even denied they were using a mobile at all, but footage has been caught on camera from the Spotter vehicle.

PC Ian Madelin said: "Mobile phone use is the key distraction offence for the Fatal Four offences, which include; distraction driving, drink of drug driving, speeding or not wearing seat belts. 

"But we do find that the distraction caused by mobile phones is more serious than any of the other offences."

Do the regulations go far enough?

He said: "There is a lot of discussion at the moment from the public about improving the sentencing, seizing mobile phones or otherwise. That's for the consideration of the law makers, not ourselves. 

"But I think this is worth a trial at the very least."

WATCH: Driver spotted on her phone in Guildford


"Hopefully, if this offence stays, hopefully it'll reduce the number of offences of people using mobile phones whilst driving and reduce injuries and deaths caused involving distraction offences."

PC Madelin added: "Everybody knows when you learn to drive that you shouldn't be using a mobile phone whilst driving. 

"They've committed the offences. I'm not there to make them upset, I'm there to deal with the offences and make them aware of the risks caused of the potential risks caused through driving whilst using a mobile phone.

"The two collisions on the A34 last year where families died, or loved ones had died, illustrate the dangers posed by using mobile phones whilst driving.

"I think it's really important that with we demonstrate to the public that we take those offences seriously, we do these operations to reduce the number of offences." 

Surrey Police's It Can Wait campaign, is to remind drivers that nothing is more important than focusing on driving.

Whatever your phone is doing, your main concern should be getting to your destination in one piece.

The campaign runs until Tuesday, 7 March at 23:59.

Here's what the new penalties mean for you.



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