Driver using his phone behind the wheel chased down by mounted police officers in Taunton

  • Watch the moment a driver is chased down by mounted officers for using his phone

A driver who was using his mobile phone behind the wheel was chased down and stopped by mounted officers in Somerset.

Police officers were on patrol on East Reach in Taunton when they spotted a man making a call on his phone while driving in the opposite direction on 7 March.

The pair turned their horses around before galloping along the street to catch up with the driver.

Upon flagging the silver vehicle down, one officer said to the driver: "You know you shouldn't be on your phone?"

When the man suggested he was only using his phone because he had a problem with his music, the officer replied: "You're driving and you're on your phone and I can see that there's a phone call going [on]."

Avon and Somerset Police has posted footage of the pursuit in a bid to remind people that using their phone while driving can land a driver with a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.

It's part of the force's #OpTelecom, which aims to tackle drivers using their mobile phones while on the road.

Officers have been carrying out the mobile phone enforcement operations during the past three weeks as part of a wider scheme being led by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).

More than 4,500 fatal or injury collisions have been recorded on roads patrolled by the force since 2021. Of those, one in four had distraction, mobile phone use or the driver failing to look properly listed as a contributing factor.

It is also estimated that drivers who use a mobile phone behind the wheel, whether handheld or hands free, are four times more likely to crash.

The force is hoping the enforcement action has also reminded people that using a mobile phone, sat nav, tablet or any device that can send or receive data while driving is now illegal.

What is illegal when driving?

  • Unlocking the screen

  • Checking the time

  • Texting - including drafting or reading text messages

  • Making, or rejecting calls

  • Taking photos or videos

  • Browsing the web

If someone is caught using a device while driving a car, the penalties range from six points and a £200 fine, to being disqualified from driving and facing court, where a fine of £1,000 can be imposed.

Avon and Somerset Police: 'No excuse for putting others in danger'

Inspector John Shaddick of the Tactical Support Team said: "In the last 12 months, we’ve received 713 videos of drivers using their mobile phones from drivers with dash cams.  We’ve taken police action in 607 of those cases, and are grateful to members of the public who are working with us to keep our roads safer.

“There is no excuse for putting yourself and others in danger by driving distracted."

The only times a phone can be used by a driver while in the car are:

  • To call 999 or 112 in an emergency and where it's unsafe or impractical to stop

  • When you are safely parked

  • To make a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, such as at a drive through restaurant

  • When using the device to park the vehicle remotely

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