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One year on from doubling of mobile phone penalties and police report a drop in the number of offences

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One year ago, on 1 March 2017, the penalties for driving while using a mobile doubled from £100 and three points to £200 and six points and the option for first time offenders of taking a driver education course was removed.

In a bid to reinforce the message about the dangers of using a mobile while driving, the tougher legislation meant that if a newly qualified driver was found to have committed the offence within their first two years of driving, they would lose their license altogether.

Figures released today by North Yorkshire Police show a year-on-year reduction in the number of drivers being caught using a mobile behind the wheel.

Between March 2016 and February 2017, police charged 563 drivers with the offence of using a handheld mobile phone or device while driving a motor vehicle on a road and 119 drivers for not being in a position to have proper control of their vehicle.

One year on and the numbers have fallen by 25% and 39% respectively for the two offences. Between March 2017 and February 2018, 419 drivers were charged with the offence of using a handheld mobile phone or device while driving a motor vehicle on a road and 72 drivers for not being in a position to have proper control of the vehicle.

Commenting on the figures, Inspector Dave Barf from North Yorkshire Police Roads Policing Group said:

“Whilst we are encouraged by the reduction in the number of drivers using a  mobile, we are not naïve or complacent to assume all drivers have understood the warnings about the dangers, put their phone away and made a change in their driving behaviour.

“419 drivers using phones whilst behind the wheel and 72 drivers not being in proper control of their vehicle is still a large number of people committing the offence – and it only needs one message, one phone, one driver and one car to take a life.

“Through a mixture of ongoing education and engagement delivered through our partners at 95 Alive and enforcement through our roads policing officers, our safety camera van fleet, and the public being our eyes and ears by reporting drivers to Operation Spartan – we will continue to hammer the message home about the dangers of the use of mobile phones behind the wheel.

“Driving at 30mph, in a two second glance at a phone, your car has traveled 100 feet – do the sensible thing and switch it off or put it away, where you can’t be tempted to look at it. By doing that you not only avoid a £200 fine and six points but potentially a fatal collision.”

Last modified: March 1, 2018