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Latest figures reveal distracted driving epidemic

Almost 10,000 drivers have been caught twice for being distracted at the wheel, including through mobile phone use, in the last four years.

Man driving car using hand-held mobile phone

The BBC research found that although 238,694 people have been caught driving while distracted, just 284 have received a ban as a result

The figures have been revealed by the BBC following a BBC Radio 5 live freedom of information request, and also show that more than 600 people were caught three times and one driver five times.

The BBC added that although 238,694 people have been caught driving while distracted at least once, just 284 have received a ban as a result, according to the DVLA.

The figures have been released as road safety organisations call for urgent changes to the law after a lorry driver caused a crash that killed a mum and three children by looking at his mobile phone.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that it is doubling the points and fines for drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel.

Responding to the BBC findings, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “These shocking figures reveal the scale of the task in hand to reverse the relaxed attitudes of persistent offenders and to change driver behaviours. It will be interesting to see what impact the new increased penalties will have but with a significantly reduced presence of dedicated roads policing officers some will doubt they will bring about the behavioural change we need.

“We need a concerted effort by the Government, the police and the courts using a combination of tougher penalties, targeted enforcement and a hard-hitting education campaign to tackle what has become a desperate problem for society.

“It is time for motorists to accept their personal responsibility to drive safely and to observe the law. No call, text, post or tweet can be that important – it really can wait. Smart drivers will have already made their own personal commitment not to use a handheld device when driving.

“We need all drivers, young and old, to listen to the harrowing stories we have heard this week about families devastated as a result of accidents caused by a distracted driver preoccupied by their phone and make the right choice by ditching the handheld smartphone at the wheel.”

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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.