Police Special Op catching drivers using phones

3 March 2024

North Yorkshire Police has increased its work to stop people using mobile phones while driving, by supporting the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) mobile phone campaign  (26 February 24 – 10 March 24)

Operation Contact targets distracted driving which is one of the “fatal 5”. It is a significant contributory factor to many serious and fatal road traffic collisions on the county’s road network. Drivers who use their hand-held device at the wheel are four times more likely to be in a crash.

Use of a phone carries a minimum fine of £200 and six points.

Police have the power to stop drivers if they believe that they are distracted and not in control of a vehicle.

In North Yorkshire, as in all areas, some very serious incidents have been caused by the use of a phone at the wheel.

It is still illegal to use a handheld device when:

  • Stopped at traffic lights
  • Queuing in traffic
  • Supervising a learner driver (and you also need to be under the limit for alcohol to do that)
  • Driving a vehicle that turns off the engine when you stop moving
  • or holding and using a device that’s offline or in-flight mode when driving a vehicle


North Yorkshire Police, Traffic Constable, Alison Hoyle:

There is never a reason for using a phone while driving, and it is a huge distraction to driving.

We see what are called “lap chancers” where people look down to their lap to read a Whatsapp messages – you can see them with their heads looking down to their lap.

Tests with driving simulators have proven what even a split second distraction can mean.

A message is never that urgent, and it can wait. If there is an urgent event then people generally call.

We recommend that a phone is put on silent, and put out of reach, or you use the drive modes.



If on a motorway, driving at 70mph, you cover 31.5metres per second. So even a 3.5 second glance of your phone means that you cover the length of a 100 metre  sprint track.

mobile phone

North Yorkshire Police, Traffic Constable, Alison Hoyle:

Often people don’t see consequences that we have seen, and we have seen the use of mobile phones being the cause of many serious collisions.

The most recent figures show that last year there were 697 traffic hand held offences in North Yorkshire.

We have also seen an increase in penalties, as the message is not getting through – don’t use your phone.

If you use your phone you will receive a £200 fine along with 6 points to your licence.  If you have been driving for less than 2-years you will also need to take your test again.

An option of a driver awareness course is not offered, as the view is taken that the person using the phone is already aware that they shouldn’t be using their phone.

Ask yourself, are you aware of the risks of using a phone, and do you still use your phone ?

North Yorkshire Police also undertakes awareness work, across all ages. That includes with schools on road safety talks.

Inspector Clive Turner from North Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group commented:

I’m sure that a majority of people will agree that driving when distracted is dangerous and completely unacceptable behaviour.

Last year, we issued 697 Traffic Offence Reports for people using a hand-held device when driving on North Yorkshire’s roads. I personally find it disappointing that this number of people will risk not only their own but other people’s safety.

I would like to remind people that they can submit their own footage of people committing driving offences on the road network as part of Operation Snap, further details can be found on the North Yorkshire Police website.


North Yorkshire Police will continue to run Operation Contact, until 10 March 24, but action against mobile phone users will be ongoing.


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