A journalist is understood to have been stopped and fined by police today on their way to cover the launch of new tougher penalties for motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving.
The reporter, whose identity is not known, is believed to have been fined £200 and had six points docked from their licence under the new law, which came into force today.
It is thought the journalist was stopped while using their mobile phone as part of a police operation enforcing the new law, which was being filmed and photographed by journalists, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror both splashed on campaigns in September last year calling for stiffer penalties for motorists using their mobiles behind the wheel.
It came as an RAC survey found that one in four (26 per cent) of motorists admitted to checking texts, emails and social media while driving.
Channel 5 News journalist Dominic Reynolds said on Twitter today: “Breaking Irony News: a journalist driving here to cover phone/driving crackdown has just been busted: £200, 6pts.”
Under the law change motorists face losing six points from their licence and a fine of up to £200, double the previous penalty for being caught using a mobile phone while driving.
Freelance journalist Steve Cottrell, who witnessed the incident, told the Daily Telegraph: “The police were pulling people off the A415 Ock Street using plain-clothed Police spotters to indicate to uniformed officers further down the road (where we were).
“The specific offence being targeted was mobile phone use while driving. There were plenty caught, and as the photographers and cameramen (me, BBC Oxford and Channel 5 News) filmed them, various reporters asked for comments from the drivers, and variously some responded, most didn’t.
“At one point I overheard a policeman saying that the lady he had just ‘done’ was a member of the press on her way to this very event. I certainly didn’t recognise her, neither did my colleagues.”
Picture: Dorset Police/PA Wire