Number of drivers fined for using a mobile in decline

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It’s been six months since the penalty for using a mobile while driving doubled, and early signs show it appears to be working

Police have fined 27,000 drivers for illegally using a mobile behind the wheel since tougher penalties were introduced in March.

The figures, revealed in a Freedom of Information request by carbuyer.co.uk, roughly equates to 149 drivers being fined daily across the country – giving the police as much as £5.5million.

Since the introduction of double points – from three to six – and a doubled Fixed Penalty Notice – from £100 to £200 – the number of law-breaking drivers appears to be in decline.

The number of mobile phone offences between March and September 2016 stood at 47,923 while over the same period in 2015, more than 59,000 penalties were dished – a reduction of 54% over the two years.

This change was followed by a nationwide enforcement scheme and in March alone, the Metropolitan Police issued 3,353 fines to drivers using a mobile. While a total of 8,000 motorists were fined across the country.

At the same time, many police forces scrapped their mobile-phone awareness courses as an alternative to points and a fine, following Department for Transport guidance.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: "It's too early to tell conclusively whether recent campaigns, higher penalty fines and targeted operations have reduced the number of people using mobiles while driving, but we are working closely with partners to evaluate this."

However, RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams, said a drop in the number of traffic officers could simply mean fewer people are being caught.

"Our own research found there's still a hardcore of nine million drivers who appear to have not changed their behaviour in the slightest and continue to use their handheld phone,” he said.

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