Police have launched a crackdown on drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel – from the top of a double decker bus.
Operation Top Deck means officers can use the out-of-service bus as a vantage point to look down and catch drivers using their phone whilst on the road. It is part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the consequences of using a phone behind the wheel.
Inspector Kev Smith of the Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Policing Team said using mobile phones while driving is extremely dangerous and can devastate lives and people need to understand that it isn’t acceptable.
He said: “We want to create a credible, constant threat of prosecution to induce driver behavioural change and make our roads safer, and that is why this operation will continue to run across Sheffield on an ongoing basis.
“Police officers or PSCOs equipped with video cameras board the bus.
“Buses give us a perfect vantage point into cars and also the cabs of lorries and trucks. Offenders will be given a roadside educational input on the dangers of distracted driving and also face the prospect of a hefty fine plus six points on their licence.”
In just 90 minutes, 12 drivers were seen using their phones at the wheel – including at a roundabout, in moving traffic, and in a near-collision.
Last year, 386 drivers in Sheffield were stopped for using their mobile phone while driving. The offence carries a fine of up to £200 and six penalty points on the driver’s licence.
Using a mobile phone while driving has been shown to make serious injury or death from a road traffic collision four times more likely.
One of the drivers stopped nearly had a collision with the car in front when travelling at 30mph because he was more interested in his phone than keeping a safe distance.
The vast majority of people stopped were in free moving traffic, with one person even seen to negotiate a roundabout where accidents have previously been reported with one hand on the wheel and the other on his phone.
Other offences witnessed and dealt with include a driver who was watching the telly on their mobile phone instead of concentrating on the road ahead, and two young children who were not wearing seat belts.
Insp Smith added: “We will look at particular circumstances but there will also be some drivers, ones who’ve been particularly reckless, who we will charge and take to court.”