Thousands of repeat offenders happy to try their luck with mobile use

Thousands of repeat offenders happy to try their luck with mobile use
Responsible road users will be “shocked” to discover over 6,000 drivers have been stopped at least twice since 2013 for distracted driving, the RAC says.

The DVLA figures – which include cases of handheld mobile phone use behind the wheel – show that more than 400 individuals were caught three times; 20 were caught four times, and three drivers were caught on a staggering five occasions.

Obtained via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the Press Association, the numbers build up a worrying picture of repeat offending, suggesting thousands of drivers are unwilling to change their dangerous habits.

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Motoring groups claim the figures illuminate how a perceived lack of enforcement means some drivers simply ignore the rules around mobile phone use.

The number of road police officers in England and Wales has declined by 27% in the past decade.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams believes the repeat offenders clearly think there is “little chance of seeing a traffic police officer”.

Back in March, when the penalties for mobile phone use were doubled, the RAC launched the BePhoneSmart.UK campaign, encouraging motorists to take a pledge to quit their illegal habit.

The new DVLA data draws attention to CU80 endorsements on driving records – handed out to those found not to be in full control of their vehicle. These are erased after four years.

It was found that around 174,000 drivers have at least one CU80 endorsement, but only 309 were disqualified from driving as a result.

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Mr Williams said: “Responsible motorists and road users will be shocked to hear the number of persistent handheld mobile phone drivers who are prepared to disregard a first endorsement and continue to put their own lives and those of other road users at risk.

"With an average of 43.5k CU80 endorsements issued each year this represents less than 0.1% of the total number of 48.2 million driving licence holders in Great Britain and yet as the RAC Report on Motoring data shows 23% of drivers admit to using a handheld phone to make calls when driving and 40% admit to doing so when stationary at lights or in queues.

“Clearly, enforcement is falling far short when it comes to tackling the handheld mobile phone menace and the number of CU80 endorsements shows that the massively under-funded police forces are only scratching the surface of the problem.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.