53 drivers a day caught using a mobile phone
More than 50 drivers a day are caught using their mobile at the wheel despite the introduction of tougher penalties.
Home Office figures show that the number of fines issued for using a hand-held device has risen by 10 per cent in England and Wales in a year.
Now MPs and road safety campaigners are calling aaafor greater police enforcement, saying abuse is still “rampant” on the roads.h
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “These figures are deeply worrying. Drivers are clearly not getting the message. It suggests the number of accidents will also be going up.
“The issue is people don’t think they will be caught if there isn’t a visible policing presence on the roads.
The statistics show that 53 motorists are being caught a day, with 19,655 handed fixed-penalty notices last year compared with 17,873 in 2020.
In some force areas there was also a dramatic rise in the number of drivers being caught.
Cheshire police recorded a doubling in penalties from 516 in 2020 to 1,031 drivers penalised last year.
The Metropolitan Police caught the most drivers, with 4,196 fined for using their mobiles last year, an 18 per cent rise on the previous year.
It has been an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving in Britain since 2003, but the law was tightened earlier this year after many motorists avoided prosecution by arguing that they were not using it for “interactive communication”.
Motorists can now be stopped if they use a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel for any use, not just for telephoning someone. This includes taking photos or videos, scrolling through music playlists, using satnav, streaming services or playing games.