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Police take to double-decker buses to catch texting drivers

Police take to double-decker buses to catch texting drivers

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The country’s police forces have all manner of vehicles at their disposal – from cars to SUVs, motorbikes to horses and even a lorry cab. Now though, West Midlands Police have taken to not-so-public transport in a bid to capture drivers texting at the wheel, using the high-up vantage point of a double decker bus.

The buses in use have been ‘borrowed’ from National Express and won’t be in public service. They’ll instead be driven by officers, and the passengers will be plainclothes police officers equipped with video cameras.

Officers will be able to look down on surrounding traffic from their high-up vantage point, and when an offending driver is spotted, information will be radioed to police bikers.

Plain clothed police officer on bus

Offenders caught using their phones while moving will face the prospect of six points on their licence and a £200 fine. For those only using their phones in stationary traffic, an education program is offered, where officers show the offenders a hard-hitting virtual reality video showing the potential consequences of using a phone while driving.

PC Mark Hodson, from West Midlands Police’s traffic division, said:

“Using mobile phones while driving is proven to be as dangerous as drink driving; it can devastate lives and people need to understand this isn’t acceptable. We want to create a credible, constant threat of prosecution to induce wholesale driver behavioural change and make our roads safer.

“Buses give us a perfect vantage point into cars and also the cabs of lorries and trucks. Offenders will be given a roadside educational input on the dangers of distracted driving and also face the prospect of a hefty fine plus six points on their licence.

“We will look at particular circumstances but there will also be some drivers, ones who’ve been particularly reckless, who we will charged and take to court.”

The operation was launched on Monday, September 17, and proved immediately successful with 45 motorists caught in the first few hours.

Police officer giving a ticket

PC Hodson, said: “The launch run was really successful – and have shown that despite all the warnings and public safety messages there are still drivers who can’t resist picking up their phone at the wheel. 

“Most offenders were reading or sending text messages…being online and staying in touch seem to get in the way of people’s driving. It’s simply not worth the risk of causing a collision or potentially being banned from the roads.”