DRIVERS who use their mobile phone behind the wheel and don’t give cyclists a wide berth are being targeted by police as part of a week-long operation.
The initiative, which began yesterday (Monday), is being run by the force’s Operational Support Unit.
Since March 2017, drivers who are caught using their phone stand to receive six points on their licence and a £200 fine and could be sent on an educational course.
Insp Lee Beck said: “Using a handheld mobile device while driving, or even while the car is stationary with the engine running, is illegal and has been since December 2003.
“However, the change in law last March doubled the punishment for those individuals who continue to flout the law and use their hand-held devices while driving.
“Using a mobile while driving is distracting and draws your attention away from the road – it can have fatal consequences.
“We will have marked and unmarked police resources on our roads equipped with video cameras to record breaches of the law, so the warning to motorists is clear – don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t have it in your hands, or else you could be stopped by one of our team.”
Officers will also be carrying out a "safe pass" operation.
This involves officers on bicycles taking to the roads to identify motorists that fail to adhere to safe passing distances for bicycles.
Insp Beck added: “While we have officers dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of using hand-held devices behind the wheel, we thought it would be useful to highlight once again another vital element of road safety – safe passing distances for cyclists.
“Driving too closely to a cyclist is incredibly dangerous and can have serious consequences, so it’s important that we continue to educate motorists about safe passing distances and to encourage a greater awareness of, and respect for, other road users.”