Watch out drivers – mobile speed cameras can catch you out for more than going over the limit
Latest figures show mobile speed cameras can catch motorists if they are on the phone or not wearing a seatbelt
Their aim is to monitor the speed of passing cars.
But mobile speed cameras have also been catching drivers in the North East for other crimes such as using a phone behind the wheel and illegal number plates.
Latest figures released by the Northumbria Road Safety Initiative show almost 700 motorists were snared by the cameras for offences other than speeding.
The most common crime was drivers not wearing their seat belts, with 604 people being penalised during a four-month period.
Figures show between August and November in 2015, the latest available, 37 motorists were caught committing the offence on the A193 Church Bank in Wallsend – more than anywhere else in the region.
Other hotspots in the region for people not wearing their seat belts are:
• A185 Jarrow Road, South Tyneside – 33 people
• A167 Stamfordham Road, Newcastle – 32 people
• A1171 Dudley Lane, Cramlington, Northumberland – 29 people
• A191 Whitley Road, Benton – 26 people
• Springwell Road, Sunderland – 26 people
• A183 Dame Dorothy Street, Sunderland – 26 people.
The figures also reveal 52 motorists were caught using a phone behind the wheel during the four-month period.
Five drivers were snared on the A188 Benton Lane in North Tyneside and another four on the A690 Durham Road in Sunderland.
Three drivers were each caught on Sunderland Road in Gateshead, Barrack Road in Newcastle and Springwell Road in Sunderland.
Under new laws introduced in March, the punishments for using a phone behind the wheel has increased to six penalty points and a £200 fine.
Motorists could also have their licence revoked if they rack up six points in their first two years.
Instant bans would mean that new drivers would have to retake their practical and theory tests before being allowed back on the road.
Before starting the engine of a vehicle, the road awareness group Go Safe advises motorists to switch off mobile phones and to wear seat belts.
A Go Safe spokesman said: “Set your phone to voice mail or call divert, that way you will not miss a call.
“If you are on a long journey take regular breaks, get out and walk about and make your calls then.”
A total of 36 drivers were caught for “other offences” such as not being in control of their vehicle or using illegal number plates over the four months.
Superintendent Sarah Pitt, head of operations at Northumbria Police, said: “Camera detection is a great tool used to help police enforce all road laws and legislations.
“Many think speeding is the only thing detected however, driving without a seat belt, using mobile phones behind the wheel and more can all be identified and are all actions which make our roads a danger for motorists and pedestrians.
“We need to ensure we take positive action whenever possible to keep dangerous drivers off our roads. These laws are in place to protect people – and quite simply breaking them can cause serious injury or even death. We don’t tolerate it and those in violation will face the consequences.”