Mobile driving offences rising whilst prosecutions falling
Every day an estimated 500,000 motorists break the law by using their mobile phone whilst driving. Those caught will receive a £100 fine and three penalty points. Despite evidence that the numbers of motorists breaking the law is growing the number of prosecutions has fallen by almost 16,000 over three years. Indeed, in Greater Manchester the fall in prosecutions is down by a massive 80 per cent!
Specifically, across England and Wales, the number of prosecutions for using a mobile whilst driving fell from 35,255 to 19,650 between 2011 and 2013 – a fall of 44%. Falls of more than 60% were seen across a number of counties, including Cumbria, the West Midlands and Merseyside.
The number of crashes where the cause was attributed to mobile phone use has grown from 378 in 2012 to 422 in 2014, whilst the number of fixed penalty notices (the alternative to a formal prosecution) is down by 26 per cent.
Personal injury solicitor, Kevin Smith, comments:
“It’s dispiriting enough to consider the paltry fines handed down for these offences, let alone read that the number of prosecutions is falling so significantly. The message this sends out to the public is that this is an offence they can probably get away with.
“As the statistics show the number of accidents caused by using a mobile phone at the wheel has grown and there are innocent victims caught up in these offences. More rigorous sentencing would undoubtedly reduce accidents.”
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Content correct at time of publication