Drop in drivers caught using mobile phones

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POLICE have caught fewer drivers using mobile phones, new figures show.

Road safety charity Brake said the drop comes as its research shows more than half of drivers admit using their phones.

In Hampshire, just 4,986 drivers were caught in 2015-16, compared to 6,272 in 2014-15.

The drop is now less than the previous lowest figure in 2013-14, which was 5,372 drivers.

In 2011-12, 5,936 drivers were caught and in 2012,13 there were 5,372.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake said: ‘It would be wonderful to think this drop is down to people getting the message about the dangers of mobile phone use, but sadly we don’t think this is the case.’

She added: ‘As our police forces have faced major budget reductions, road traffic officers have too often been seen as a soft option for cuts, they are an essential part of the service and save lives.

‘As the government brings in tougher new penalties for this crime it must make sure it resources our police forces properly so this is a real deterrent.’

It comes as the government proposes upping the penalty to drivers, with six points on their licence and face a £200 fine.

Joint Operations Superintendent Simon Dodds said: ‘There has been an 18 per cent reduction in road policing resources since 2012, but a significant focus still remains on enforcement of the fatal four – speeding offences, motorists not wearing seatbelts, drink/drug driving, and distraction behind the wheel.

He added: ‘There is also the option now which allows drivers caught to be sent away on awareness courses.’