Police unable to answer the call

Although using a phone while driving is at ‘epidemic’ levels according to experts, the number of drivers caught by police has nearly halved in the last five years.

According to the BBC, which received responses from 37 of the 43 police forces in the UK under the Freedom of Information Act, about 178,000 drivers were stopped in 2011-12 compared with under 95,000 last year.

The National Police Federation claimed that the drop was due to fewer traffic officers.

The most drastic drop in numbers occurred in Kent, where figures fell from 4,496 in 20011/12 to just 723 – a reduction of 84%.

Chief Con Suzette Davenport, from the National Police Chief’s Council, told the BBC, ‘This problem cannot be solved by enforcement alone. We need to build awareness and make it socially unacceptable to use a mobile phone while driving.’

Jayne Willetts, from the Police Federation for England and Wales, added, ‘It’s no surprise that our figures have dropped because the number of operational roads policing officers whose core role would be to target the mobile phone offences has significantly dropped as well. Since 2000 [the number of officers] has almost halved. The two go hand in hand.’