In the six months following the new, tougher legislation on drivers using mobile phones at the wheel, almost 700 people in Surrey alone were handed fixed penalty notices for the offence.
The new laws were introduced in March this year, six months after a cyclist was killed by a driver on the A31 who was distracted by his mobile phone.
The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, support a parallel investigation by BBC Radio 5 live which showed that 290 drivers across the country were banned from the roads in the six-month period following the legislative change.
The punishment for being caught using your mobile phone while driving is now a £200 fine and six points on your license. For those who have had their license less than two years, this results in an automatic ban, and for all those banned they must apply and pay for a new provisional license, and retake both the theory and practical examinations.
Pete Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC, said: “These people have spent hours and hours and hundreds of pounds learning to drive to gain their personal freedom only to throw it all away through this foolish behaviour.
“The only consolation is that they now won’t be involved in some horrific crash caused by the distraction of a hand-held mobile phone.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said at the time of the new law’s introduction that they would “act as a strong deterrent” to mobile phone users, however, figures from the DVLA might suggest otherwise with 15,752 drivers receiving penalty points between March and August – up from 15,237 in the same period in 2016.
Cyclist and father-of-two Lee Martin was killed on the A31 in 2016 when 30-year-old Christopher Gard ploughed into him on the A31 in Bentley because he was using his mobile phone while driving. Gard was jailed for nine years.
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