Police officers in Kirkcaldy will continue their efforts to terminate mobile phone calls made by drivers.
That was the vow by Chief Inspector Nicola Shepherd, divisional commander for Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, to councillors when it was revealled that almost 1400 people were caught using a mobile phone while driving between April 2014 and March 2015.
The figures formed part of a report into policing activities in the Kirkcaldy area, and specifically referred to road safety and road crime statistics.
The 1395 cases represented a drop of just over 10 per cent on the previous year’s total of 1557, but the police chief agreed that it was still far too high.
Councillor Peter George, who represents Kirkcaldy west, Kinghorn and Burntisland, welcomed the report and, on the subject of mobile phone use, asked: “Are all these people detected by the police or does the public phone in to report them?”
Ms Shepherd told councillors it was a mixture.
“If we can corroborate that they have been on the phone we will investigate,’’ she said.
‘‘The majority of cases are officers on patrol seeing it being committed. Offenders can pay a fine or, if they choose not to they will receive a summons and end up in court.”
Councillor Lawrence Brown said it was becoming more prominent.
“Coming down here I saw two people on their phones and you see it more and more,’’ he said.
‘‘I drive the A9 regularly and it is not just phones, but iPads, route planners and other mobile devices.”
The police chief said that two officers were needed to corroborate a case.
“There are hands free devices, but it is a huge educational exercise as well as enforcement,” she explained.
“Is it our focus?
‘‘Absolutely. Do we know it goes on?
‘‘Absolutely, and we understand your frustrations.”
Mobile phone use and the law
Anyone caught actively using a mobile phone while in control of the speed and direction of a vehicle can be prosecuted under regulation 110(1)(a) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.
The offence incurs a fixed penalty of £100 plus three penalty points on your license, and requires the corroboration of two witnesses.
The law covering the use of mobile phones in vehicles is the same in Scotland and England.