​​​​​​​Mobile phones are still being used at the wheel despite crackdown

Embargoed to 0001 Monday February 27 NOTE POSED BY MODEL File photo dated 13/08/14 of a woman using a mobile phone while driving. Two-fifths of drivers are unaware they face tougher punishments for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, a study has found.
Despite a crackdown on mobile phone use by drivers at the wheel, thousands of motorists are still being caught breaking the law.

Since March 1 alone, more than 6,000 drivers have been stopped for mobile phone offences while driving. That equates to 200 offenders a day.

In the same month, the penalty increased to a minimum of a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity The RAC Foundation, said: "Driving is a safety-critical activity that requires our full attention.

"Hands need to be on the wheel and eyes looking out of the windscreen, not down at the phone screen."

A third of the offences were reported from London, making it the highest offending city in the UK.

Details of the offences were obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

The files also document different examples of offences, including one man who was caught on his mobile phone while driving a 7.5-tonne lorry round a roundabout.

Another was a businessman caught doing his mobile banking while traveling on the M5 motorway near Birmingham.

And in October last year, Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years after he killed a mother and her three children in a horrifying crash on the A34 near Newbury, due to him being distracted by his mobile phone.

President of the AA Edmund King, told the BBC: "We know we can't change the attitudes and actions of all drivers overnight.

"We now have stricter penalties so need to continue with education campaigns including driving schools, plus more police enforcement."

By Aidan Rennie-Jones

Read Full Story