According to the Home Office, two or more people daily get caught using their phones while driving.
In 2017, officers in Devon and Cornwall fined 854 people caught in the act. Of these fines, 60 were cancelled while others were pursued further.
The number of those caught in 2012 was 2,530, and the consecutive years since then have consistently seen declines in the figures.
In the counties, efforts have recently been intensified by officers to apprehend offenders, including through the obtainment of modern and highly sophisticated cameras. By their use, overspeeding can now be more effectively tracked. Gydnia way, one of the busiest routes into Plymouth, has received the first deployment of these devices.
According to the law, the consequence of getting caught speaking on the phone while driving is a £200 fine in addition to six penalty points. There is also a possibility of prosecution which could see offenders getting banned or fined up to £1000.
Those whose driving test was passed within the preceding two years and get six penalty points are required to retake both the practical and theory exams.
The use of mobile phones with hands-free kits while driving is legal, otherwise drivers have to be safely parked to use their hand-held devices. In emergencies where stopping cannot be safely or practically done, drivers may go on to dial the emergency numbers – 999 or 112.
In the larger picture of England and Wales, the fines issued in 2017 for the offense were at their lowest recorded number since 2011, standing at 56,549, down from 86,853 in 2016.