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Mobile phone driving fines double in Thames Valley

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Thames Valley drivers received over double the previous number of fines for mobile phone use while driving after law update, recent data reveals.

The AA noted stricter laws drove a significant increase in offences nationwide while crediting dashcam usage for catching phone-using drivers.

In 2022, Thames Valley Police issued 944 fixed penalty notices to drivers caught using handheld devices, according to Home Office data.

The number rose from 430 in the previous year, with 2021 travel patterns influenced by the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

All police forces except the British Transport Police issued 38,000 fixed penalty notices in 2022, a 34% increase from 2019.

In 2021, only 20,000 FPNs were issued, but all police forces except one saw an increase the following year. This is likely due to a change in the law in March 2022.

The law previously stated that drivers committed an offense by using a hand-held device for “interactive communication.”

An offence carries a minimum £200 fine and six points on the driver’s licence.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: “Drivers need to hang up their handsets, rather than play with their phones.

“As well as police forces scheduling targeted enforcement events, the rise in privately owned dashcams, means drivers are more likely to be caught handling their mobile phone. The reality is that someone is always watching.”

Rod Dennis, RAC road safety spokesperson, noted that many drivers are “willing to endanger lives by engaging in this perilous practice.”

Mr Dennis urged police forces to use cameras to automatically detect drivers using mobile phones.





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