Fall in mobile phone use by drivers

Fewer motorists have been caught on their mobile phone. Posed by a model
Fewer motorists have been caught on their mobile phone. Posed by a model
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There has been a significant drop in the number of Scottish drivers caught on their mobile phones.

New figures revealed by the BBC, after a Freedom of Information request, shows that the that the number of people caught using phones at the wheel has dropped from 35,732 and 10,061 between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

Brake, the national road safety charity, is now calling for urgent investment in road policing after the Police Federation said the number of dedicated road traffic officers has been hugely reduced over the last few years.

The government recently confirmed plans to double fines and penalty points for using a phone behind the wheel, but without sufficient officers to enforce this, Brake is concerned even the new tougher penalties may not be seen as a real deterrent.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “It would be wonderful to think this drop is down to people getting the message about the dangers of mobile phone use, but sadly we don’t think this is the case.

“A recent report called mobile use behind the wheel ‘an epidemic’, with our own studies showing more half of drivers in some age groups admitting they still use a phone while driving.

“As our police forces have faced major budget reductions, road traffic officers have too often been seen as a soft option for cuts, they are an essential part of the service and save lives.

“As the government brings in tougher new penalties for this crime it must make sure it resources our police forces properly so this is a real deterrent.”