Motorists ‘get away’ with using phones behind the wheel

Prosecutions have fallen by half in five years despite more drivers calling and texting while driving

Motorists ‘get away’ with using phones behind the wheel
Fewer than 18,000 prosecutions made in 2014.

Fixed-penalty notices against motorists who use a phone while driving have more than halved, falling from 123,100 in 2011 to 52,400 in 2013, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Prosecutions in England and Wales also sank to 17,414 last year, compared with 32,571 in 2009.

The fall comes despite figures from the Department for Transport showing a persistent number of drivers are still using their phone at the wheel.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “There is still an enormous gulf between what the law states – that handheld mobiles should not be used behind the wheel – and what motorists see happening on our roads.

“Drivers are routinely using their phones at red lights or even while on the move.

“There are now far fewer police to enforce a law that is designed to protect all road users and pedestrians.

“The goal for ministers and policymakers is surely to make the use of mobile phones at the wheel as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

“With this the number one road safety concern for motorists, coupled with official data showing fewer people are being caught, there will be an overwhelming frustration that too many drivers are simply getting away with it.”

The legislation that makes it illegal to use a hand-held phone whilst driving was introduced in December 2003.

Currently, drivers caught receive three points on their licence and a £100 fine.

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