Double-decker checkers: Police use vantage point to spot hand-held mobile phone offenders in Scarborough and Eastfield
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Police in Scarborough and Eastfield have teamed up with local double-decker bus company EYMS to help crack down on drivers using hand-held mobile phones.
The new road safety operation, called Op Deck, was run by the Neighbourhood Policing Teams on Sunday (26 Nov 2023).
It involved PCSOs riding on the top deck of buses acting as “spotters”.
They were able to identify drivers blatantly ignoring the law and posing a danger to themselves and other road-users.
Officers in marked police vehicles were then directed to the offending motorists to carry out the stops.
Distracted driving, which includes mobile phone use, is one of the ‘Fatal 5’ traffic offences that form part of North Yorkshire Police’s education and enforcement approach to increasing road safety.
The others are careless driving, drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt and excessive speed.
PC Zac Waterman said:
“We have listened to the local community and businesses who regularly make complaints of motorists using their mobile phones while driving.
“Working closely with the staff and management at EYMS, we have placed PCSOs on the top deck of their buses which gives a great vantage point to view these dangerous motorists.
“The new operation went well with multiple tickets served. The drivers admitted to the offence due to the quality of evidence, thanks to the positioning on the bus.
“Too often we see collisions, injuries and even fatalities occur due to drivers using mobile devices.
“The message is clear from North Yorkshire Police: this will not be tolerated. Those caught using the phones illegally will be dealt with robustly.
“The fine currently stands at £200 along with six points on your licence. Op Deck will continue and more days of action will be staged soon.”
Stricter mobile phone legislation came into force in March 2022
The new legislation takes into account the evolving technology of smart phones since the original ‘hand-held’ offence was introduced in 2003.
The meaning of ‘using’ a phone whilst driving has been expanded to cover things such as checking the time, unlocking the device, checking notifications, making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call, drafting any text, and accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages.
The only exemptions will be the existing one of making an emergency call, plus making contactless payment using a phone at a payment terminal for goods or services. The vehicle must be stationary, and the item being paid for must be provided at the same time or after the contactless payment is made.
Such phone-based transactions include paying for a car park or at a drive-through food and drink retailers.