571 motorists were caught using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel during the 2015 All-Wales Anti-Mobile Phone While Driving Campaign - 59 of them in North Wales
The enforcement campaign, which ran between September 24 and October 7, involved road safety partners and urged all road users to ‘keep their eyes on the road’ and not be distracted by answering their mobile phone, reading a text or going online.
Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
Led by Dyfed Powys Police, officers from all four Welsh police forces and GoSafe carried out proactive patrols to target motorists who endangered other road users through this behaviour and educated drivers on the penalties they faced if caught.
During the campaign, officers detected a total of 571 mobile phone driving offences throughout Wales and issued 177 warnings.
North Wales Police caught and dealt with 59 offenders, in the Gwent area a total of 67 were caught, Dyfed Powys Police caught 388, and in South Wales Police 57 law breakers were dealt with.
T/Chief Inspector Martin Best from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “Although fewer motorists were caught in this year’s campaign throughout Wales, it remains a serious concern that so many drivers choose to risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal collision due to using a mobile phone whilst driving. Our warning is clear, even the most experienced or competent of drivers can be easily distracted and a slight lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences.
“Taking such a risk is totally unacceptable, and this is why officers from all four Welsh forces will continue to carry out proactive patrols to target motorists who endanger themselves and other road users. No call, text, app, or email is that important – they must all wait until you’ve stopped driving.”
Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales added: "Driving while using a mobile phone is not only illegal but dangerous. It doesn’t just put your own life at risk but also the lives of your passengers and other road users who may not have a say in your actions behind the wheel.
"While it’s saddening to see that so many motorists got caught using a mobile phone whilst driving it has also demonstrated the resolve of all the Road Safety Wales partners in tackling this issue and we will continue to work together to drive home the message that no call or text is that important."
During the campaign officers also detected 200 other offences whilst carrying out checks – they included offences known to contribute to fatal and serious collisions, such as drink and drug driving, speed, not wearing a seat belt, carelessness, no insurance, drugs and construction and use offences.