The road safety charity Brake says enforcement of the new mobile phone penalties ‘stalled’ just one month after they were introduced in March 2017.
Figures obtained by Brake via a FOI request to the DVLA show that 10,428 drivers in England, Scotland and Wales received penalty points for illegal mobile phone use between March and June 2017.
However more than half of those (5,258) occurred during a nationwide police crackdown in March – with the number of motorists receiving points for the offence falling to 1,865 in April and 1,387 in June.
Regionally, the highest number of penalties in the four month period were given to drivers in Greater London (2,186), followed by Essex (580), the West Midlands (372), Hampshire (348) and Kent (308)
The increased penalties introduced in March 2017 – six penalty points and a £200 fine – mean drivers who have held a full licence for less than two years, face losing their licence for just one offence.
Brake’s FOI data shows that 104 new drivers in Britain lost their licence for the offence in March 2017, but this dropped to 36 in April and 22 in June.
Brake is calling for a renewed focus by police forces on enforcement of mobile phone laws, to ‘reduce deadly crashes’.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Illegal mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing menace to road safety.
“Given the scale of the problem, the fact that so few drivers have received points is deeply troubling.
“Tougher laws are a big step forward, but they must be accompanied by rigorous enforcement if they are to work. It’s essential that police forces send out a clear message that drivers who flout the law will be caught and punished.”
Featured image: RAC