6,000 driv­ers use phone de­spite fines

Computer Active (UK) - - News -

Nearly 6,000 driv­ers were caught us­ing their mo­bile phones while driv­ing in the month af­ter the Gov­ern­ment in­creased penal­ties for the of­fence.

The fig­ures equate to 200 driv­ers per day in the 28 days from 1 March, when the De­part­ment for Trans­port (DFT) dou­bled the penal­ties to a £200 fine and six penalty points. Ad­di­tion­ally, mo­torists caught us­ing their phone within two years of get­ting their li­cence can now lose it en­tirely.

Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling said at the time that us­ing a phone at the wheel is “as in­ex­cus­able as drinkdriv­ing”.

The Press As­so­ci­a­tion used a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to ob­tain the sta­tis­tics, which show po­lice pun­ished 5,977 driv­ers in March. Just over 2,000 in­ci­dents took place in Lon­don.

Driv­ers re­ported to the po­lice in­cluded a man us­ing his phone while driv­ing a 7.5-tonne lorry around a round­about in Bournemouth, and an­other driv­ing a minibus with 10 chil­dren on board.

Road-safety cam­paign­ers said that the fig­ures show the tougher laws aren’t curb­ing this be­hav­iour. The char­ity Brake, which wants the £200 fine to be “sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased”, told the BBC: “Driver dis­trac­tion is a grow­ing men­ace and it’s wor­ry­ing that driv­ers don’t seem to be get­ting the mes­sage”.

Steve Good­ing, di­rec­tor of mo­tor­ing re­search char­ity the RAC Foun­da­tion, added: “Driv­ing is a safety-crit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that re­quires our full at­ten­tion. Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes look­ing out of the wind­screen, not down at the phone screen”.

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