Concerns that lack of traffic police officers will undermine mobile phone use crackdown

Mobile phone use by drivers
Mobile phone use by drivers

The crackdown on illegal mobile phone use by drivers risks being undermined by a lack of dedicated traffic police officers, motoring experts have warned.

Some motorists are not deterred by tougher punishments for using a hand-held phone because they do not believe they will be caught, according to the RAC.

Since March 1, drivers who fall foul of the rules have faced receiving six points on their licence and a £200 fine - up from the previous penalty of three points and £100.

Figures obtained by the Press Association revealed that more than 200 drivers a day were caught using their mobile phones illegally in the four weeks after the changes took effect, equivalent to one every seven minutes.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: "Drivers tell us there are not enough police on the roads enforcing driving laws, so inevitably there will be concern that people are getting away with breaking them.

"Illegal mobile phone use at the wheel has been a growing problem in the UK and those that persist in breaking the law need to know there is a real threat of getting caught.

"We welcomed the tougher penalties that came in earlier this year, but to be effective they must be backed up by rigorous enforcement."

Mr Dennis said stretched police forces are "doing their best under difficult circumstances" but warned that the reduction in dedicated roads police officers "risks allowing the epidemic of using a hand-held phone at the wheel to continue or even worsen".

He added: "The public is entitled to question whether the Government is allocating enough resources to keeping our roads safe."