Fewer motorists are being prosecuted for using their mobile phone while driving than ever before, according to official figures seen by the RAC – with prosecutions down by 47% between 2009 and 2014.
The fall comes despite figures from the Department for Transport showing a persistent number of drivers are still using their phone at the wheel – highlighting a worrying mismatch between what motorists see happening on our roads and what drivers are being prosecuted for.
A motorist caught using a mobile phone is most likely to receive a fixed penalty notice from a police officer, as there is currently no technology in use by police forces that automatically detects illegal use.
But in recent years, the number of police officers patrolling roads has dropped by 23%, probably leading to the perceived drop in the offence.
In some areas, fixed and mobile cameras installed to catch speeders or those blocking junctions and using bus lanes have now been used to identify drivers using phones while behind the wheel.