Police in Cambridgeshire unveil their ‘secret’ weapon to catch drivers using their phones - and you’ll never guess how they plan to do it

PUBLISHED: 15:05 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 04 September 2018

Jason Ablewhite, Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, with the force’s new Mercedes HGV that will be used to target drivers using mobile phones. Picture: Twitter / @PCCCambs

Jason Ablewhite, Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, with the force’s new Mercedes HGV that will be used to target drivers using mobile phones. Picture: Twitter / @PCCCambs

Twitter / @PCCCambs

Police in Cambridgeshire will be trialling their latest ‘weapon’ in a bid to crack down on drivers using mobile phones – an HGV.

It will be used to look down on drivers during the next month and has been loaned to the Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (RPU) by Highways England.

Last year in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, 2,089 people were caught using a mobile phone while driving. Additionally, a recent poll has shown that 31 per cent of people in Cambridgeshire admitted to using a mobile phone to make a call, change music or text while driving.

Sergeant Ian Manley, of the RPU, said: “The HGV provides a vantage point for officers to catch drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

“Drivers can hide a phone or mobile device in their lap whilst driving, making it hard for officers to detect and prevent dangerous driving. This support from Highways England will allow us to monitor all vehicles through the use of the HGV.”

Driving whilst on the one if of the ‘fatal four’ causes of collisions.

Jason Ablewhite, Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “We [Cambridgeshire Police] can’t emphasise enough how dangerous this [on the phone while driving] is.

“We look at our statistics across the year and how many people are seriously injured or killed on our roads. It is one of the big five.

“People often say you’re only doing these campaigns to make money. Actually we don’t get any of that money; it all goes to the courts.

“This is all about you! We care about you! We care about your families! We care about everyone’s safety on our roads in Cambridgeshire.

“What we’re asking you to do is take your phone when you get in the car and put it in your glove box, keep yourself safe.”

“We need to educate the public that this behaviour is completely unacceptable,” Sergeant Ian Manley said.

“Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but also endangers other road users around you.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said: “Too many lives have been irreversibly changed as a result of people using mobile phones behind the wheel. Through this campaign, we can help reinforce the dangers involved and remind people that if you use a mobile phone while driving, you significantly increase your chances of being involved in a serious, even fatal collision.

“Together we need to continue doing everything we can to make using mobile phones while driving as socially unacceptable as drink or drug driving.”

Stephen Greenhill, Highways England Asset Development Manager for Cambridgeshire, said: “Safety is at the heart of what we do at Highways England, as we support the police in making our roads safer by ensuring road users drive legally and appropriately.

“We’re pleased to work with them and loan them our HGV cab so they can catch drivers who are breaking the law by looking at their phones, eating, reading, and the other activities that have been recorded. It can be difficult for police to see what HGV drivers are up to when they’re in their cars, so the HGV cab helps them to get a better view and ensure that they don’t get away with breaking the law while driving.”

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