Are tougher laws for tackling use of phones while driving working?

New driving laws came in last year.
New driving laws came in last year.

The number of motorists using their mobile phone while driving appears to have fallen after the introduction of tougher laws.

New rules came into force in March last year, meaning anyone caught using their phone at the wheel could be fined £200 and hit with six penalty points.

And figures from our Freedom of Information request to Derbyshire Constabulary indicate the new punishment is working, with the number of tickets issued dropping from 506 to 417.

Commenting on the statistics, a Derbyshire Constabulary spokesman said: “Our hope is that the message highlighting the extreme risk drivers put themselves and others in while using their phones is getting through.

“However we cannot be complacent, and these figures show that there are still people out there who are willing to take the risk.

“Despite these figures showing a decrease over the years, we will continue to target these motorists in an effort to make our roads as safe as possible.”

And the spokesman issued this stark warning, saying: “The message to motorists is simple – no text, phone call, Facebook status or any other use of a smartphone is worth losing your life, licence or job for.”

The results show that from March 1, 2017, to March 1, 2018, 417 tickets were issued.

Of these, 244 were hit with a £200 fine and six points on their driving licence.

Whereas 506 tickets were issued in 2016 and 725 in 2015.

A spokesman for national road safety charity, Brake, said: “Whilst these statistics may suggest that tougher laws on mobile phone use are having an effect, the evidence seen day-to-day on UK roads indicates otherwise.

“We urge drivers to put their phone in the glovebox, out of reach, and call on the government to increase enforcement and crackdown further on the menace of phone use behind the wheel.”