New statistics show worrying rise in illegal phone use.
Latest Government figures show that 500 drivers a day receive fines for chatting on their mobiles while driving.
That’s an increase of a third within a year according to the Department for Transport, from 129,700 to 168,000. Last year, the fixed penalty fine was doubled to a £60, plus three points on offenders’ licences.
These just-released figures do not yet indicate whether stiffer fines have had the desired effect.
But the DfT is keeping the pressure on and has already this year aired a hard-hitting TV campaign to communicate the dangers of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving. The latest campaign advises switching off completely, after research showed that using a hands-free set-up while driving was little safer.
The DfT’s Think! campaign also urges callers to end a conversation if they suspect that the other person is driving.
The DfT says that driver reaction times when using a mobile, whether hands-free or hand-held, are often slower than for anyone over the drink/drive alcohol limit.