Record number of drivers caught using phones

Police caught 47 drivers every hour during a week long crack down last November, totalling nearly 8,000 offences

using a phone when driving

Record numbers of motorists are caught using a mobile phone after new figures revealed police across the UK caught nearly 50 drivers every hour during a week-long crackdown. 

Police handed out 7,966 mobile phone offences to drivers during a week-long enforcement operation last November, the highest number on record. This amounts to 47 drivers caught every hour of the week. 

The figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) show 36 police forces issued more than 7,800 fixed penalty notices, hundreds of verbal warnings and 68 court summons to drivers. The NPCC has now launched a week-long campaign, running from 23 January until 29 January, to target mobile phone use. 

Prime Minister: Mobile phone use while driving as bad as drink-driving

November's figures also represent an over three-fold increase compared to previous periods. In May 2016, police forces detected just 2,323 mobile phone offenders during a similar week-long enforcement.

Previous studies have shown up to 11 million drivers admit using a mobile phone behind the wheel, with the number of people who find it acceptable up from 7 per cent to 14 per cent. 

Police forces are now considering the use of community spotters – members of the public to highlight and report offenders to police – as well as partnerships with other local authorities to clamp on mobile phone use.

The Department for Transport recently announced plans to double the fixed penalty notices for mobile use from £100 and three points to £200 and six points. The new laws will be implemented in the first half of 2017. 

Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, said: “This week forces will be working to make driving distracted as socially unacceptable as drink driving through enforcing strong deterrents and powerful messages to make people think twice about their driving habits. 

“Encouraging results from last year’s campaign against mobile phone use show how effective new tactics and innovative approaches can be. Officers will continue to use intelligence-led tactics to target police activity and resources and catch repeat offenders. Forces will be working throughout the year to tackle this behaviour by motorists with national partners and the public.”

Is mobile phone use on the road now an epidemic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below...  

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