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Rise in drivers using mobile phones is "deeply concerning"

Rise in drivers using mobile phones is "deeply concerning"

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:27pm 26th March 2019.

Cornwall and Devon's crime tsar says a big rise in drivers using mobiles is "deeply concerning".

Alison Hernandez says work is being done to cut distraction driving in the south west.

But she also wants young drivers to be better educated about the dangers.

It comes as figures show almost half of 25 to 34 year olds admit to using their phone behind the wheel.

Distraction caused by mobile phone use has been linked to a number of serious accidents in the Duchy and Devon in recent years.

A recent campaign, supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, aims to tackle distraction driving as one of the key causes of collisions after a poll of Devon and Cornwall residents showed it was their number one road safety concern.

"I am saddened, but unfortunately not surprised, to hear that the effects of increasing penalties for being caught using a mobile phone appear to be waning.

"I think nationally we need to do more to educate young people about the dangers of distraction driving. It puts them, their passengers and others at huge risk.

"I am delighted that Evans has come on board to help us make our roads safer and I would love to work in partnership with other companies who would like to do their bit."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall

driver on the phone

The RAC Report on Motoring showed that a quarter of drivers (25%) - the equivalent of £10m people - admitted to illegally making or receiving calls while driving compared to 24% in 2017.

There was a dramatic rise in the proportion of younger-age drivers admitting to using a phone illegally in 2018. In the 25 to 34 age group 47% said they made or received calls while driving - up 7% on 2017 and compared to just 25% of drivers in all age groups.

More than a third of drivers aged 25 to 34 (36%) send texts, social media posts or emails while driving, compared to just 16% of drivers in all age groups.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has now unveiled a campaign to warn drivers of the dangers of dangerous driving habits in partnership with the Honest Truth charity and haulier Evans Transport.

In 2017 the penalty for using a handheld mobile phone doubled to a £200 fine and six penalty points in recognition of the harm caused by the practice.

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