Advertisement

Prosecutions for using mobile phones while driving down by half

The RAC is worried that court cases for mobile phone use are down when motorists report handheld phone use is on the up

iPhone app

The number of drivers caught using mobile phones behind the wheel have halved over the last five years, according to figures seen by the RAC.

Prosecutions for mobile phone use are down by 47 per cent from 2009 to 2014 despite Department for Transport (DfT) research which shows drivers are using phones more than ever. The RAC says this highlights a worrying disparity between what motorists see on the road and what drivers are prosecuted for.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Prosecutions are recorded when a case reaches the courts. A motorist may be summoned to a magistrates’ court if they ignore or choose to challenge a fixed penalty notice (FPN), if they already carry too many points, or if the offence is deemed too serious for a FPN.

• New website lets you check UK car mileage and MoT history online

FPNs, issued by police at the roadside, are a more common way of dealing with the offence but numbers of these issued have also fallen. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of FPNs issued for mobile phone use dropped by 57 per cent - from 123,100 to 52,400.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The DfT's last report on using mobile phones while driving was published in 2014 and showed an increase over the same stats from 2009. Mobile phone use is also increasingly a contributory factor in accidents in the UK – in 2014, 492 accidents were as a result of a driver using a phone, up 40 per cent on 2010.

Advertisement - Article continues below

• VW emissions scandal: latest news on EA 189 engine recalls

RAC head of external affairs, Pete Williams, said: “There is still an enormous gulf between what the law states – that handheld mobile phones should not be used behind the wheel – and what motorists see happening on our roads. Drivers are routinely using their phones at red traffic lights, or even while on the move.

“We have already highlighted the large reductions in the numbers of full-time roads policing officers affecting many police forces. On average across the country there was a 23 per cent cut between 2010 and 2014 – meaning there are 1,279 fewer officers patrolling our roads. Sadly, therefore, there are now far fewer police to enforce a law that is designed to protect all road users and pedestrians."

Do you see motorists using their handheld phones while driving? Let us know in the comments section below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

VED road tax: how much does it cost?
car tax calculator
Consumer news

VED road tax: how much does it cost?

Confused by VED road tax? Our comprehensive guide explains how much you'll pay on your next car
3 Jul 2020
Six-month MoT extension ends on 1 August
Consumer news

Six-month MoT extension ends on 1 August

Department for Transport ends MoT extension on 1 August; cars due an MoT before that date still get extra six months
29 Jun 2020
BMW and Mercedes pause autonomous car partnership
BMW and Mercedes
BMW

BMW and Mercedes pause autonomous car partnership

German firms had previously agreed to work together on Level 4 self-driving systems, plans that have been paused following a "mutual and amicable agre…
19 Jun 2020
Check your car's mileage and MoT history
UK MoT tests could become less stringent
Consumer news

Check your car's mileage and MoT history

A Government website allows users to find the entire MoT history of any vehicle plus other details free of charge
5 Jun 2020

Most Popular

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time
Ford Puma

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time

The sporty new Ford Puma ST will make its debut later this year, with the same 197bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine as the Fiesta ST
3 Jul 2020
BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options
News

BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options

New software update for models with iDrive 7 also includes automatic switching to electric power in city centres for plug-in hybrid models
2 Jul 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates
Volkswagen Tiguan

New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan adds plug-in hybrid power and a hot 316bhp ‘R’ model to the SUV’s line-up
30 Jun 2020