More than13,000 drivers have been caught and received over £2m in fines for using a mobile phone illegally, according to new research.
Ministry of Justice data analysed by insurance firm Direct Line found that more than 13,000 drivers are convicted for the offence annually, with any driver caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel handed a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
A further poll by Direct Line has found that the issue might be even more widespread than first thought, with 29% of 2,002 UK adults surveyed admitting to using a phone behind the wheel in the last 12 months.
In 2018, 683 casualties were reported on British roads where using a mobile phone while driving was deemed to be a contributing factor. Those figures included 29 fatalities and 118 serious injuries.
Experts have called for the offence to be deemed as “socially unacceptable as drink driving”.
Steve Barrett, head of motor insurance at Direct Line, 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.”