Are tougher penalties deterring drivers from using their mobile phone?

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A crackdown on motorists using a mobile phone while driving seems to have had an impact, with the number of offences falling by nearly 50%.

According to a Freedom of Information request made by the AA, around 39,000 fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers for using a mobile phone at the wheel between March and December last year, compared with 74,000 during the same period in 2016.

There are various factors behind the 47% decrease, including tougher penalties, road safety campaigns and a lack of enforcement due to reductions in traffic officer numbers, the motoring organisation said.

The figures are based on information provided by 41 of the UK's 45 police forces.

In March 2017, the penalties for using a handheld mobile phone while driving doubled from £100 and three penalty points to £200 and six points.

Drivers can lose their licence if they receive 12 points within three years, or six points in the first two years after passing their test. As a result, new drivers risk having their licence revoked if they are caught using a phone behind the wheel.

AA president Edmund King 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."

Have you noticed fewer people using their phone behind the wheel?







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