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Mobile phone fines fall 40% after new penalties

5 March 2018

The number of drivers issued with fixed penalty notices for using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel has dropped by two fifths since the penalties doubled, but the AA has warned that police may be failing to enforce the law.

The AA submitted Freedom of Information requests to all the UK’s 45 police forces. Of the 41 that responded the vast majority reported a fall in the number of FPNs issued, although four forces cracked down on the crime, handing out more penalties in 2017 than the previous year.

Overall the number of FPNs issued for the offence fell from 87,051 in 2016 to 51,787 in 2017, a drop of 40.5%.

However, the AA said that studies that it has carried out suggest that the drop is a mix of road safety campaigns, the doubling of the fine and points, and a lack of enforcement due to traffic officer reductions.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘As we mark the one-year anniversary of the introduction of tougher penalties for using a handheld mobile at the wheel, we are pleased to see that drivers are starting to get the message.’ ‘Some of the change can be attributed to targeted awareness campaigns which, together with high profile cases of the serious and even deadly consequences of driver distraction, has begun to encourage drivers to think twice before picking up their phone.’

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