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Industry disagrees whether tougher mobile phone penalties are working

Brake and the RAC have expressed differing opinions over whether a fall in the number of drivers receiving points for illegal mobile phone use is the result of tougher new legislation.

Industry disagrees whether tougher mobile phone penalties are working

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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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.