A campaign has been launched targeting tractor drivers on their phones behind the wheel.

The campaign by Dorset Police focuses on the consequences of using mobile phones while driving agricultural vehicles and heavy machinery on roads.

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 702 collisions resulting in fatalities or serious injuries on Dorset roads; seven of these collisions occurred as a result of mobile phone use.

Dorset Police are hoping to change the behaviour of drivers by highlighting the consequences of being caught using a mobile phone whilst driving. This applies to those making calls or sending texts, taking photos, checking emails or changing a playlist.

Roads Casualty Reduction Officer, Jason Green, of Dorset Police, said: “It might seem like a small thing - momentarily picking up your phone to read a quick text or give somebody a call – but we’ve seen that these kinds of decisions can have devastating consequences.

“Each year, we investigate many serious or fatal road traffic collisions, some of which could have been prevented.”

During the last two years, Dorset Police have issued 517 fixed penalty notices to motorists who were caught using a mobile phone while driving.

“You are far more likely to be involved in a serious injury or fatal collision if you use your phone while driving. Please don’t put others at risk - keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel,” added PC Jason Green.

The punishment for using a handheld mobile phone when driving is six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Police are reminding drivers that the law still applies if they are:

  • Stopped at traffic lights queuing in traffic
  • Supervising a learner driver
  • Driving a car fitted with stop/start technology that switches the engine off when you come to a stop
  • Holding and using a device that’s offline or in ‘flight mode’

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, added: “Being safe on the road is vital no matter what vehicle you drive, and any death on Dorset’s roads is a tragedy.

"The cost to those caught using their phone may well be financial – but, to someone involved in an accident caused by a driver using a mobile phone, it may well be life-changing. Quite simply - when you decide to use your phone behind the wheel you are putting your own and others' lives at risk. The solution is simple – don’t use your mobile phone whilst driving.”

Dorset Police are asking the public to assist them in making the roads safer by providing evidence of drivers using mobile phones. Video footage can be uploaded to the dedicated force website: www.operationsnap.dorset.police.uk and can be used as evidence to prosecute offenders.