Industry disagrees whether tougher mobile phone penalties are working
Although penalties for drivers using a mobile handset doubled to a £200 fine and six penalty points as of 1 March this year – leading to 5,258 drivers receiving points during the month in a nationwide police crackdown – Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data obtained by Brake shows the numbers receiving six penalty points for illegal phone use plummeted to 1,865 in April and just 1,387 in June.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Given the scale of the problem, the fact that so few drivers have received points is deeply troubling. Tougher laws are a big step forwards, but they must be accompanied by rigorous enforcement if they are to work. It’s essential that police forces send out a clear message that drivers who flout the law will be caught and punished.”
However, earlier this month, the RAC published FOI figures showing that 11% fewer drivers were caught while using a mobile phone in the three months following the introduction of the new penalties, leading the breakdown recovery specialist to conclude that the figures indicate the police campaigns are beginning to take effect. However, it added that the reduction in number of road police is likely not to offer enough enforcement to stamp out the problem.
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