Motoring groups have said that a decline in the amount of road police officers in service has meant that drivers are not discouraged from using their phones.
This follows a number of high profile cases that have found motorists using devices while driving, such as television personality Nick Knowles being banned from driving for 6 months and fined almost £1,500 for speeding and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
Lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years after driving into stationary traffic while being distracted by his phone – killing a mother and three children.
The overall number of motorists in England and Wales being handed fixed penalty notices for illegally using their phone while driving in 2017 was 22,800, which is down by almost 100,000 from 2011 according to Home Office figures.
But that decline in fines has fallen as full-time roads policing officers in that jurisdiction, excluding London, have decreased by 27% between 2010 and 2015.
In 2017, the penalty for being found using a mobile phone while driving was doubled from 3 points on the licence and a £100 fine up to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. Drivers can lose their licence if they receive 12 points over a 3-year period, or 6 points in the first 2 years after passing their test.
Latest figures released by the Department for Transport show that 43 people were killed and a further 135 were seriously injured in crashes on British roads involving drivers using mobile devices – with a study by the Transport Research Laboratory finding that a driver’s reaction times are doubled for those who are texting while driving compared with those who have been drinking alcohol.
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