Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is backing Greater Manchester Police as they clamp down on illegal phone use.
More than 150 motorists were caught flouting the law in the first four weeks following the introduction of tougher penalties for using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Between March 1 and March 27, 2017, 137 motorists were fined for using a mobile while driving. A further 14 were dealt with by police for not being in control of their vehicle by, for example, adjusting a sat-nav.
In addition, at least another 30 incidents are still being investigated.
On Wednesday March 1, the legislation for using a mobile phone while driving changed. The penalty was doubled and if caught, offenders will now receive a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Over the last four weeks, officers in both marked and unmarked cars have been targeting various locations in Greater Manchester to catch offenders.
Inspector Tony Allt from Greater Manchester Police’s Roads Policing Unit said: “During the intensive national campaign regarding the increase in penalties for using a mobile phone, officers could see a notable reduction in people willing to take the risk of committing the offence. “Going forward, we will work hard to reinforce the message that this is not only a socially unacceptable, but outright dangerous offence to commit. “Officers will continue to patrol the roads of Greater Manchester in marked and unmarked vehicles to deal with those offenders who believe that the law does not apply to them.”
Area Manager Paul Etches, Head of Prevention at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Any campaign that makes the roads of Greater Manchester a safer place to be is something we are keen to support, which is why the fire and rescue service was so eager to get behind our colleagues at GMP with this one.
“Sadly our fire crews see the harsh realities of what can happen if motorists use mobile phones while driving and find themselves in a collision, trapped and injured. Our partnership with the police sees us educate young drivers about the dangers of using mobile phones while driving and we hope that it will be thanks to education and campaigns like this that will ultimately reduce collisions on the road and keep people safer on the roads.”
Anyone with details of persistent offenders who are driving and using their mobile should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call 101 with details.