Too many motorists still think it is acceptable to risk their own and other people’s lives by using mobile phones while behind the wheel, a police crackdown has revealed.
A countywide clampdown during December saw more than 2,000 drivers stopped by officers at hotspots across Herts.
Operation Callback targeted motorists spotted chatting on their phones while driving, and ran alongside the annual drink-drive campaign.
Despite the advance publicity surrounding Operation Callback, in which the force warned motorists that officers would be out and about looking for law breakers, the message failed to hit home for some motorists.
Assistant chief constable Alison Roome-Gifford said: “The results of Operation Callback have sadly shown there are many drivers in Hertfordshire who believe it is acceptable to use a mobile phone behind the wheel, despite the dangers.
“It is important motorists understand that using your mobile phone while driving will increase your chances of being involved in a collision and even being responsible for someone’s death.
“There are no excuses for doing it. The vast majority of calls are not emergencies and can be left to go to voicemail.”
A total of 2,435 cars across the county were stopped between December 1 and 26, while 1,128 drivers were breathalysed.
More than 1,000 traffic offence reports – given to a driver who is suspected of committing an offence – were issued.
An investigating officer then gets in touch later with a course of action, from the opportunity to attend an education course to facing penalty points and a fine.
Of these 1,000, a total of 554 were given to motorists suspected of using a mobile phone, and 622 were for a range of other offences, including not wearing a seat belt, failing to keep a vehicle in a roadworthy condition and driving without due care and attention.
Another 37 people were also arrested under Operation Callback on suspicion of a range of offences including drink-driving, theft and immigration offences.
Police and crime commissioner David Lloyd warned that officers will continue to come down hard on drivers who break the law.
“Police will continue to ensure that those drivers who do not give their driving their full attention will be picked up,” he said. “This will help keep the rest of us safe.”