Drivers are getting away with using mobile phones, say latest figures

Police are failing to punish drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel, according to new statistics.
Officers are now issuing just a fraction of the number of fines they gave out five years ago after new rules banning mobile phone use while driving came into force.
Even though mobile phone use has been linked to a number of road traffic accidents, including fatalities, statistics revealed that the number of fixed penalty notices given out by officers in England and Wales is falling.
In 2011, there were 123,100 fines issued, but that number fell to just 16,900 in 2015.
Road safety campaigners say there is huge danger in mobile phone use continuing to go unpunished.
Pete Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC, said: “The number of fixed penalty notices issued by police forces in England and Wales for illegal handheld phone use at the wheel has, frankly, fallen off a cliff.
“The figures lay bare the scale of the handheld mobile phone epidemic that has been allowed to sweep across the country largely unchallenged. The simple truth is the problem of illegal handheld phone use at the wheel is undeniably getting worse, with fewer and fewer people being caught.”
The Department of Transport has promised a hard line stance on the use of mobiles to make calls or texts while driving. It wants to double fines after mobile phone use was reported to be at least part of the reason for 22 fatal accidents last year.
However, these latest statistics show that police forces are either deliberately no longer making issuing these fines or a priority, or they simply do not have the manpower to make sure the regulations are enforced.
According to research carried out on behalf of the RAC, the number of motorists who believe making a phone call while driving is acceptable has doubled from seven per cent to 14 per cent. One in five motorists said they thought it was okay to look at social networking sites on their smartphones provided that they were stopped in traffic.
The RAC believes attitudes towards mobile phone use while driving are becoming more relaxed because drivers are not worried about being punished for the offence.
Road safety charity Brake said police were under too much pressure on resources to be able to enforce mobile phone use violations