Motoring|

New figures show UK drivers sill flouting mobile phone laws

Driver-phoneStatistics obtained from the Freedom of Information Act archives show increased penalties have not deterred Britain’s motorists from using their mobile phones at the wheel. The Press Association requested the figures for the four-week period after new laws were enacted and found police forces penalised 5,977 drivers for the offence.

The total figure equates to a detection rate averaging 200 a day. The maximum penalties for driving and using a mobile telephone were raised to six penalty points and £200 on 1 March 2017. The penalties are even harsher for those committing the offence within the two years after passing their driving tests as they face losing their licences altogether.

A number of the offences reported by arresting police officers would have been comical if the offence was not so serious. These included a woman in Norfolk replying to a message someone had found her dog and another about a driver carrying out online banking transactions on the M5 motorway.

Commenting on the high number of offenders, road safety organisation Brake said the doubling of the fine to £200 was not enough and it needed to be jacked up more to provide a real deterrent. Brake spokesperson Jack Kushner noted it was perturbing that the UK’s motoring community did not seem to understand distractions were really dangerous.

The RAC Foundation’s Steve Gooding sounded a similar warning noting the high numbers of drivers ignoring the law showed the message was not getting across. He said drivers needed to have their full attention on the road and not be looking at or playing with their phones.

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