Divers deterred by tough phone penalties

DESIRED EFFECT: Increased penalties for using your phone while driving has seen offending rates fall.
DESIRED EFFECT: Increased penalties for using your phone while driving has seen offending rates fall.

The number of drivers in Yorkshire and the Humber caught on their phone plummeted by 48 per cent last year.

It follows the introduction of harsher penalties in March 2017 which saw fines and penalty points double for driving while musing a mobile phone.

The number of fixed penalty notices dropped to 2,809 in 2017 according to new figures obtained by Confused.com. This is down from a 5,437 in 2016 – a 48 per cent drop in just 12 months.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “Since the penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel have gone up, it’s encouraging to see it has had the desired effect by reducing the number of motorists committing the offence.

“Using a mobile phone while driving can have serious consequences, and drivers may forget that being caught committing the offence could damage their driving record and could bump up their car insurance premium.”

The driver savings site used Freedom of Information requests to the region’s police forces to get the figures. The number of offences also plummeted year-on-year across the UK. In 2017, the number of fixed penalty notices issued to drivers dropped to 30,470, from 49,694 in 2016 – a 39 per cent drop in just 12 months.

But while the law has had the desired effect of reducing the number of people using their phones behind the wheel, it has also led authorities to pocket more money. The figures suggest the total amount collected in fines across the UK has more than doubled, by 151 per cent, in 2017. At least £1,207,300 was paid in fines in 2017, up from £481,500 in 2016, due to fines increasing to £200 from March, and police now declining to offer education courses. The savings site believes with the profit made from these fines increasing, UK roads will benefit from a bit of extra spending.

See www.confused.com/on-the-road/driving-law/mobile-phones-law-faqs for more information.

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