Fleet News

More than 70,000 drivers caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel

mobile phone use behind the wheel, mobile phone convictions.

New data suggests that 70,945 penalties were issued to drivers caught using their mobile phone or a similar electronic device behind the wheel in 2016.

Black box car insurer Ingenie, submitted a freedom of information request to the DVLA which revealed the total number of drivers in GB (England, Scotland and Wales) who have received a CU80 offence in 2016

A CU80 endorsement is described by the DVLA as a breach of requirements as to control the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone. These codes must stay on a driving record for four years from the date of the offence.

A CU80 refers to more than just the use of mobile phone including laptops, tablet computers or MP3 players.

The research revealed that the total number of drivers in the UK who have received at least one CU80 endorsement last year is 70,945. More than half of these were in England (51,990) while just under a quarter were in Scotland (15,973) and only 2,982 in Wales.

London is by far the worst offending location in England for drivers receiving a CU80 endorsement on their licence, with the majority of those being given to male drivers (5,949) compared to female drivers (1,350).

The top ten places in England where the most drivers received at least one CU80 endorsement in 2016 include:

1.    London - 7,303                                                       

2.    Nottingham - 1,065

3.    Birmingham - 1,063

4.    Liverpool - 1,015

5.    Manchester - 658

6.    Slough - 619

7.    Southampton - 470

8.    Leeds - 467

9.    Bradford - 466

10.  Bristol - 452

Ingenie also submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to all 45 police forces across the UK, in order to gauge the number of recorded cases of drivers using their mobile phone whilst at the wheel.

From the 45 FOIs submitted in January 2017, 26 police forces in the UK held the requested data.

Police forces which were unable to provide the relevant data include, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Cumbria Constabulary, Derbyshire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary, Gwent Police, Hampshire Constabulary, Norfolk Constabulary, Northamptonshire Police, North Yorkshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police.

However, from the information received, Essex (5702), West Yorkshire (3506) and Thames Valley (9242) were among the highest offending areas in the UK for recorded cases of drivers using their mobile phone at the wheel.

Applying averages from the data across all 45 territorial police forces, Ingenie estimates that annually in the UK there are 83,621 incidents recorded per year by police of motorists using mobile phones, resulting in:

●     10,848 court cases

●     66,628 driver retraining courses

●     11,752 fines

●     35,256 licence points in total (3 points per fine)

●     573 crashes per year where a mobile phone is a contributory factor

●     19 road deaths per year where a mobile phone is a contributory factor

To highlight how serious distracted driving is, black box car insurer Ingenie has created an interactive digital programme titled One-Four-Nine.

It is named after the rule within the Highway Code which outlines the law on using a mobile whilst driving: “You must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. You must not use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver.”

During the interactive programme, users act as a detective attempting to find the cause of a dangerous road traffic incident, following the story step by step as the mystery unfolds.

Mike Ketteringham, CEO at Ingenie, said: “We were shocked to see the breakdown of recorded cases involving mobile phones across the UK and it’s clear that drivers haven’t previously feared the punishment for using their handset behind the wheel.

“In recent years, the number of fixed penalty notices given out has decreased from 72,753 in 2014 to 70,945 in 2016, which is only a 3% reduction.

“We hope the heightened awareness of the dangers surrounding using devices whilst driving will deter the majority of drivers across the UK from taking the risk.

“By creating this new interactive digital experience, we hope to highlight some of the many dangers and distractions drivers face and ultimately improve road safety for all.”



Click here for safety and risk management best practice and procurement insight

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


  • virtual reality, take your eys of the phone and look at real reality! - 04/08/2017 12:32

    Not enough, there are millions using phones in cars every day, this is just scratching the surface. Insurers should also seriously penalise anyone who's convicted, it is an activity that increases the risk of a collision, in fact the biggest factor, far greater then speeding.

    • GC - 07/08/2017 16:31

      Absolutely. Also a lot of people using them whilst driving vans, hgv, etc, which is even more dangerous. Enforcement rather tricky when government reduces police personnel nationally though, I suspect.

  • King Garry - 15/09/2018 14:12

    cu80 i was given this for looking at a bit of paper in long que i was just checking the logo name of the place i was delivering to the que was caused by a police traffic stop and had a spotter looking for people i can understand it but i dont like the idea that people see the cu80 code and instantly assume you were on a mobile phone when infact it was a quick glanse to help me do my job once i was in a built up area without chance to stop and check and considering i had 13 years with never having done an offence to then be slapped with £100 and 3 points felt a little harsh especially considering people who speed around or jump red lights can go on a course with nothing on there licence

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee