More than £2 million worth of fines has been handed out annually to drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
The revelation comes from insurance provider Direct Line, which analysed data from the Ministry of Justice. It found more than 13,000 motorists were convicted for mobile phone offences each year.
Laws introduced in March 2017 mean motorists caught using their phone while driving face receiving six penalty points on their license as well as a £200 fine — an increase from three points and £100 previously.
Steve Barrett, Direct Line head of motor insurance, said: “Driving using a mobile phone should be as socially unacceptable as drink driving, as it is both dangerous and illegal. It only takes a second with eyes off the road or being distracted by a mobile phone for a life-altering accident to happen, or for a driver to find themselves facing prosecution and a criminal record.
“With new technology available to the police that uses sensors to detect if a driver is using their phone, people are at greater risk of prosecution for these offences than ever before. It is worrying that the majority of law-abiding drivers are being put at risk by those who allow themselves to be distracted behind the wheel.”
Rod Dennis, spokesman for motoring services firm RAC, added: “Despite the clear dangers presented by anyone using a handheld phone while driving more than a tonne of metal, the problem remains at epidemic levels in the UK. While some drivers might have changed their behaviour when the penalties were toughened in 2017, all the indications are that many more continue to put lives at risk on a daily basis.”