Reduction in drivers caught using mobile phones after tougher penalties introduced
11% fewer drivers were caught while using a mobile phone, after new tougher penalties were introduced according to an FOI request by the RAC to police forces around the UK.
The RAC has concluded that although it is likely too early to tell, the indication is that police campaigns are beginning to take effect, although the reduction in number of road police is likely not to offer enough enforcement to stamp out the problem.
Between March and May 2017 – after the introduction of the stricter penalties that include six points and a £200 fine – just over 14,160 drivers were stopped for illegally using a handheld phone while driving, compared to 15,861 in the three months prior.
Over the same period, the City of London police force observed a reduction of 67% (124 down to 41) and Durham Constabulary 51% (149 down to 73), while Surrey Police also caught 51% fewer drivers (564 down to 279). 25 forces recorded a fall in the number of drivers caught, however, 11 saw a rise and two saw the number unchanged. Kent Police saw a rise of 42% (337 up from 237), Gwent Police a 41% rise (79 up from 56) and Leicestershire Police caught 37% more (134 up from 98).
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “It is still much too early to tell if the stricter penalties that were introduced in the spring are changing drivers’ behaviour, but these figures perhaps give hope that at least some are starting to get the message that driving and using a handheld phone to talk, text or tweet don’t mix.
The RAC’s Be Phone Smart initiative encourages drivers to make and share a pledge to stay safe and legal at www.BePhoneSmart.uk