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‘I had to change the music,’ - Police campaign reminds motorists there is no excuse to use mobile devices behind the wheel

PUBLISHED: 14:18 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 25 January 2018

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

“I had to change the music for my son in the back of the car.”

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. PCC Lorne Green with Inspector for Roads Policing, Jonathan Chapman.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. PCC Lorne Green with Inspector for Roads Policing, Jonathan Chapman. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

This is just one of a long line of feeble excuses given to police officers by drivers caught using mobile devices behind the wheel in Great Yarmouth.

Another motorist claimed they were switching off an alarm, while another said they had to text their husband to ask what to do when her dashboard display told her she had zero miles left until she needed to refuel.

However, no excuse that can be given is valid reason for using a device while driving. This is the message police are determined to get across through its latest campaign.

‘Operation Ringtone’ is a week-long drive by Norfolk Police to raise awareness of not using phones while in charge of a vehicle, which has seen an increased of checks carried out by roads police.

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

In just two hours monitoring motorists around Runham Road in Great Yarmouth on Thursday alone, officers identified more than a dozen offenders.

Jonathan Chapman, inspector for roads policing, said: “It is as dangerous to use your phone behind the wheel as it is to drink and drive, and it is one of our fatal four motoring offences.

“One person we pulled over already had six points on their licence, so will now be looking at losing it.

“It was quite disappointing to see how the number of people doing it that we did.”

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The week long campaign, which started on Monday, has seen officers in both marked and unmarked vehicles patrolling for people committing this offence.

However, Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green insisted the campaign was far from a seven day affair.

He said: “This week is a shop window - the campaign itself lasts 365 days a year.

“We hope we can get the message out that when you use a handheld device behind the wheel you are putting your life at risk and the lives of others.”

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Last year, penalties for using a device while driving was increased, with any offender receiving a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence.

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