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.”