More drivers get away with using mobiles

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More people are getting away with using mobile phones while driving, government figures show.

A new Home Office report reveals the number of fixed penalties issued for the offence fell 5% to 116,000 in 2008.

But a Department for Transport survey shows the proportion of drivers using phones increased, from 1.1% to 1.4%. For van drivers the proportion rose from 2.2% to 2.6%.

Using a phone while driving has been an offence since 2003. In 2007 the fixed penalty was raised from a £30 fine to a £60 fine plus three licence points.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety for the AA, said: "A more visible deterrent is needed. It would be useful to have signs saying: 'You have just been through a mobile phone check.'"

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell