UK motorists remain “undeterred” by fines for using a mobile phone at the wheel, with almost 12,000 drivers prosecuted a year
The figure has raised questions as the UK has the highest amounts for fines in Europe for the offence, IAM RoadSmart discovered.
For example, ADAC figures show that 12 EU countries, including Iceland and Bulgaria, have fines under 100 Euros.
Germany fines up to 100 Euros, France 135 Euros and Italy 160 Euros. At the equivalent of around 225 Euros, UK fines are only beaten by Holland (230 Euros) and just pip Spain and Denmark at 200 Euros.
In spite of the possibility of a £200 fine and six driving licence points, figures published by the Ministry of Justice show the number of offenders convicted of “using or causing others to use a handheld mobile phone while driving” stood at 11,961 for 2016.
Despite this level of penalty, driving while using a handheld mobile phone in the UK continues with some addicted drivers refusing to accept the risk it causes to themselves and other road users.
IAM RoadSmart’s safety culture survey showed that 90% felt the dangers caused by people accessing social media or email messages while driving was a bigger threat than drink-driving .
IAM RoadSmart’s chief executive officer Sarah Sillars said: “Motorists need to make the connection that using a hand-held phone is a major distraction to the task of driving. There is no such thing as multi-tasking when it comes to driving – when you drive, there is nothing else you should be doing.
“Handheld mobile phone use is a top concern for British drivers and heavy fines and extra points are a key part of the government strategy to combat it.
"Clearly this is not enough and unless selfish drivers fear that they will be caught, far too many will continue to flout the law.
“What we want to see is a combination of effective penalties, more personal and corporate responsibility and vehicle, smartphone and social media companies working together to generate hi-tech solutions to the distractions caused by their technology.
“No call is worth risking your own or someone else’s life for. Remember, make the glove box the phone box and put temptation out of reach.”