When Greater Manchester Police announced they were cracking down on motorists using mobile phones while driving, they thought they would stop people texting or even calling while at the wheel.
But one patrol couldn’t quite believe what they were witnessing as they stopped one man eating his cereal while driving.
Officers have been using undercover and marked police vehicles to catch people who are distracted while driving in what they say is a disregard for the safety of other road users.
Last week, officers began targeting the main routes around Greater Manchester to enforce the law and educate drivers on the dangers of using a mobile phone while behind the wheel, following on from Chief Constable Ian Hopkins’ statement that doing so is the same as drink driving and must be stopped.
Figures released by GMP say that in the first week 142 people were stopped for using a phone and a further four reprimanded for not being in proper control of a vehicle. This included the driver who was eating their cereal while driving along Manchester Road in Hyde.
This is the breakdown of the offences recorded to date:
Mobile phone offences – 142
Not in proper control of a vehicle – 4
Of these 146 offences –
*123 people stopped were male
*127 people stopped were over 25
*Car – 111
*Van – 32
*HGV – 3
*Urban – 139
*Motorway – 7
Superintendent Craig Thompson said: “Last week was just the beginning of our focus on these offences over the coming weeks and send a clear message to anyone using a mobile phone while driving – it will absolutely not be tolerated here in Greater Manchester and it must stop.
“As Chief Constable Hopkins said last week, it is time for drivers to take personal responsibility for what they do when in charge of a vehicle. You wouldn’t drink and drive so why is it ok to use a phone when in control of a vehicle? We can all make a difference by urging people to think about their actions.”
From next year, new penalties will be in place seeing drivers get six points on their licence and a £200 spot fine for using a mobile phone while driving. The operation will continue until Christmas.