We must all listen to this Ringtone

A personal view
A personal view
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Hands up if you have ever used your mobile phone while driving?

Okay, this kind of polling technique doesn’t really work when you are eating your cornflakes or reading this newspaper in a coffee shop.

Not to mention that some people might feel a touch embarrassed about breaking the law.

But we have virtually all done it. People from all walks of life, men and women from all backgrounds.

I admit that I am of that large number – and also been stopped by the police.

It happened a few years ago, I was driving slow but calling my wife to tell her I would be home soon. An act of plain stupidity.

Ask anyone who has been stopped by those flashing lights and you instantly panic. It’s not a pleasant experience at all – though one I deserved as I had my knuckles severely and rightly rapped.

Fast forward a few years and the police are getting tough.

This week, Suffolk Constabulary joined counterparts up and down the country to launch Operation Ringtone.

The campaign has seen officers patrolling the roads in marked and unmarked vehicles fitted with cameras to help them obtain evidence and successful prosecutions.

Furthermore, our local police have now taken away the chance for first-time offenders to attend educational courses rather than fines and points.

From an educational perspective, these courses certainly don’t help all attendees so it is right that Suffolk and Norfolk police have done away with them in favour of instant penalty point deductions.

Just a few short weeks ago, the nation was left shocked and numbed by the footage of a lorry driver who crashed into stationary traffic, killing three children and a mother, while changing music on his phone.

It is a brutal piece of film that I admit I can’t watch. But I don’t need to watch it to understand the horrific actions from one man’s moment of horrible madness.

Maybe it shouldn’t have taken such a horrific incident to propel this vital safety message up the agenda, but it has, and it should.

Though wrong, it will take time for some drivers to change their attitudes.

The phone might ping or flash and within an instant, and without a thought, you give it a quick glance.

But that can be all it takes for something horrendously life-changing to happen.

And it is not just phones – one driver this week was given an on-the-spot fine and three penalty points after being seen swiping his tablet while driving on the A14.

That simply defies logic and common sense. It is just plain stupid.

Congratulations to all involved at Operation Ringtone.

As long as it is a sustained campaign and not just a brief reflection on a shocking piece of video footage, I have no doubt that it will be a huge success.