Home > Blog > Drivers Dont Fear Punishment Mobile Phone Use

Drivers don't fear punishment for mobile phone use

Joe Howell's picture

Using a phone while driving

Last year only 16,900 motorists in England and Wales were issued with fixed-penalty notices after being caught using a phone while driving by the police. That's down from 29,700 in 2014. Unfortunately, these stats play down the growing problem of phone use behind the wheel - and are evidence of a change in public attitude and the fact that traffic police are too stretched to address the issue.

It's widely believed that despite the drop in numbers of people caught, phone use while driving is on the increase. An RAC survey recently revealed that 14% of drivers think it's acceptable to make a quick call (without hands-free) while driving. That's doubled since 2014. We think this is probably due to the relatively low penalty that offenders currently face. Today you'll only receive 3 points on your license and be fined £100. And with only a limited number of traffic cops on the road, motorists seem to be relaxed about the threat of being caught.

In response to this, the government has agreed to increase the penalty to £200 and 6 points next year, but it isn't clear if this will be enough of a deterrent if the rate of convictions doesn't improve. Of course the real deterrent should be the potential for disaster. The  Department For Transport has revealed that 22 people were killed in the UK last year as a result of someone using their phone behind the wheel. A further 684 were injured.