HARSHER punishments of six points and a £200 fine for using a mobile phone while driving were introduced in the UK more than years ago, but has the amount of those who use their mobiles behind the wheel decreased?

New research by DPP Law reveals that the percentage of those who use their phones while driving could have actually increased.

Findings from the Department of Transport earlier this year reported that 1.1 per cent of drivers in the UK were found to be driving while using their phones.

However, the survey data released only today shows a 400 per cent plus increase of that figure, to 5.6 per cent of drivers who say they are still texting or calling whilst driving; even since the updated laws were introduced.

The survey, which asked 1000 people in the North West region, “have you used your mobile phone whilst driving since the fixed penalty notice of a £200 fine and six penalty points were introduced in the UK?” quizzed a demographic of both male and female respondents, aged abovec 18.

The highest percentage of individuals who answered were aged 25-34, and 54.7 per cent were male, slightly outweighing the female bias.

Of those who answered the question, 5.6 per cent admitted to using their handheld devices while driving, equating to over one in 20 people. This is a huge increase in the estimated figure that was reported earlier this year by the Department of Transport (1.1 per cent).

The findings come as part of a wider study into driving offences in the UK, which also unearth other driving habits of UK inhabitants. The same data set reveals that an average of 48% of vehicles break the motorway speed limit and 86% of cars and speed on 20mph roads.

It has also been revealed that the North West region is most likely to be convicted for drink driving over any other motoring offence. 12,344 instances were recorded in a single year in this area.