Driver caught distracted at wheel nine times in four years

Driver caught distracted at wheel nine times in four years
One motorist was caught driving while distracted no fewer than nine times in the past four years, it has emerged. And they weren’t the only repeat offender. 

The unnamed person was one of 932 UK drivers convicted for being distracted at the wheel more than once during that period. 

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), obtained by the PA news agency, reveal that 27 drivers were caught not paying attention to the road between three and five times. Those who were caught twice totalled 904, while 90,057 motorists were caught committing the offence once. 

Drivers convicted of not being in full control of their vehicle – for reasons such as using a mobile phone – are given a CU80 endorsement on their driving licence, as well as three to six penalty points.  

RAC road safety spokesperson Simon Williams says the figures demonstrate that “far too many drivers are still breaking the law and putting others on the road needlessly at risk”. 

“Using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel is illegal and dangerous and, like drink-driving, ruins lives,” he said. 

“Worryingly, the RAC’s research shows that a quarter of drivers are still making or receiving calls with a handheld phone while driving, and incredibly a small but sizeable proportion even admit to filming videos or playing games at the wheel.” 

Most drivers who accrue 12 or more points on their licence are disqualified for at least six months. But a court can decide to let offenders continue driving if there are ‘extenuating circumstances’ – for instance if a motoring ban would cause severe financial hardship. 

Just 506 of the 90,989 motorists with a CU80 endorsement – which stays on a driver’s record for four years – were disqualified because of it, according to the DVLA. It has not been disclosed whether the person with nine CU80s was among those banned. 

Jason Wakeford, head of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, spoke of his alarm at the figures. “Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis, and requires full concentration to do so safely,” he said. 

“It’s alarming to see repeat offenders, who have had ample opportunity to change their behaviour, still on the roads and putting other people at risk. 

“We believe that drivers who regularly disregard the law should have their licences revoked. This would help save lives, prevent needless injuries, and send a clear signal that driving is a privilege and not a right.” 

Other statistics also highlight the dangers posed by drivers preoccupied by phones. A total of 17 people were killed and 114 were seriously injured in collisions on UK roads in 2020 involving a driver using a mobile phone, according to the Department for Transport (DfT). More than one in six was either a pedestrian or a cyclist. 

This year, tougher laws banning motorists from taking photos or videos, scrolling through playlists or playing games on their phones while driving are set to be introduced. 

The number of CU80 endorsements on driving records on November 13 2020

Number of CU80 endorsementsNumber of drivers
Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 08/12/23. *New, single vehicle-based cover. £7.95 a month for Basic cover.