An investigation by IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has found that more than a third of police forces are using their mobile safety camera vans to prosecute drivers not wearing seatbelts or using a handheld mobile phone.
IAM RoadSmart’s Freedom of Information research found that the 16 police forces that routinely use their safety cameras to seek out other offences recorded more than 8,000 unbelted drivers between them and around 1,000 with a mobile in their hand in 2016 (three police forces provided a category called ‘other offences’ which totalled about 500 in 2016).
Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said: “Drivers should be reassured that the police are using all the tools in their road safety toolkit to address their top worries. For too many drivers it is only the fear of being caught that will stop them putting themselves and others at risk from smartphone distraction. Not wearing a seatbelt also puts an unfair burden on our emergency services who have to deal with the aftermath of such selfish behaviour. If drivers don’t know about this added enforcement technique then its impact will be reduced so the police should have no hesitation in publicising its use.”
Photo: Police mobile safety camera van.