This article by PA Motoring shows that the rate of drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel is going down, with the number of fines issued for this offense, reducing by a further 41% since last year.
The data, which came as a result of a Freedom of Information request, indicates that increased penalties for using a mobile while driving are working.
The number of fixed penalty notices (FPN) issued by police to motorists caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel decreased by 41 per cent last year, according to data obtained by the AA.
The organisation sent a Freedom of Information request to all 45 of the UK’s police forces and received 41 responses. Of those, 37 said they handed out less FPNs for using a phone behind the wheel in 2017 than they did in 2016, while four said they issued more.
The total number of FPNs given to motorists for the offence in was 51,787 in 2017 – a significant decrease from 2016′s figure of 87,051.
On March 1, 2017, the punishment for using a mobile behind the wheel doubled from a £100 fine and three penalty points to a £200 fine and six penalty points.
City of London Police was the force that saw the biggest drop in FPNs issued, with a decrease of 80 per cent. Thames Valley Police was second at 64 per cent, followed by South Wales Police at 54 per cent and Police Scotland at 51 per cent.
Also on the top 10 list was West Yorkshire Police at 50 per cent, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary both at 47 per cent, North Wales Police at 46 per cent, and Humberside Police and Greater Manchester Police both at 45 per cent.
November was the month in 2016 with the highest number of FPNs issued, with nearly 12,000 drivers receiving a £100 fine and three points on their licence. However, March was the busiest month of 2017, with the new rules meaning 8,500 motorists were hit with a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Edmund King, president of the AA, commented: “As we mark the one-year anniversary of the introduction of tougher penalties for using a handheld mobile at the wheel, we are pleased to see that drivers are starting to get the message.
“Some of the change can be attributed to targeted awareness campaigns which, together with high profile cases of the serious and even deadly consequences of driver distraction, has begun to encourage drivers to think twice before picking up their phone.
“It will take time for a wholesale change in attitudes to really take effect. While some have got the message and changed their behaviour, many drivers still believe they won’t get caught.
“But this should be the least of their concerns. Six points and a £200 fine is nothing compared to the consequences of distracted driving – and the penalty for causing an accident would be a lot more severe.
“We do however have concerns about the reduction in traffic officers and fear this may have contribute to the fall in FPNs issued.
“The number of traffic officers has reduced by a third over the past decade. But in order to clamp down on this offence, we want to see more cops in cars enforcing the laws which exist to keep all of us safe on the road.”