Data shows that the number of fined driver caught using a mobile behind the wheel has dropped a massive 86% within the last five years. Figures from the Home Office show nearly 17,000 car drivers in the UK were handed a fixed penalty for using a mobile phone at the wheel last year compared to 123,000 back in 2011.
This news comes just three months since the Government announced that it would increase penalties for drivers using a mobile at the wheel. From next year offenders will be charged a £200 fine and six penalty points compared to the current fine of £100 and and three penalty points.
The drop in fines comes in the wake of a recent report by breakdown provider RAC, which found a considerable number of drivers admit to using a mobile when driving. An estimated number of 11 million motorists have admitted to making or receiving a call in last few months while driving, and a further five million admit to taking photos or videos at the wheel. The report also found motorists’ attitudes to mobile phone use have relaxed over the years, with those who say it is acceptable doubling from seven per cent in 2014 to 14 per cent today.
The drop in fines issued could partially be down to fewer policeman on the roads. Previous research by motoring magazine Auto Express found the number of full-time traffic police operating in the UK has fallen by nearly a third since 2010 due to budget cuts. Patrol numbers fell from 5,327 to 3,742 between 2010 and 2015, with 36 of the 42 forces recording fewer staff.
If incidents continue to rise, we could even see clauses appear in car insurance policies whereby if you have an accident behind the wheel and it is proven that you were using a mobile device prior to the accident you may not be covered.