1. ITV Report

Police in Greater Manchester crackdown on drivers using mobile phones

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Ian Hopkins says using a phone at the wheel is as bad as drink-driving.

Greater Manchester Police are starting a major operation to target drivers who use their mobile phones.

File photo of a man using his mobile phone while driving Credit: Press Association

Officers will be using undercover and marked police vehicles to catch people and the operation will continue throughout the coming weeks and in the run up to Christmas. The initiative will see officers targeting the main routes around Greater Manchester to enforce the law and educate drivers.

"It is time for drivers to take personal responsibility for what they do when in charge of a vehicle. The consequences of using a mobile while behind the wheel are huge and can lead to people being seriously injured or killed. It leaves families devastated and we must stop it now.

– Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester

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.

More than 5,000 drivers in Greater Manchester have been given fixed penalty notices or sent on a mobile phone awareness course in the past two years.

Traffic officers believe those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg with an increasing number of people being spotted driving and using their mobile phones.

File photo: A woman checks her messages on her smartphone while travelin Credit: Press Association

GMP will also be raising awareness of the issue through social media and calling on people to consider what they are doing. It is part of a #wrongfortheroad campaign that will continue to target unacceptable behaviour on the roads of Greater Manchester.

Police say anyone with details of persistent offenders who are driving and using their mobile should contact local officers or call 101 with details.