The crackdown on illegal mobile phone use is still being undermined by drivers flouting the law in Burton and South Derbyshire, police have revealed.
On March 1, tougher penalties came into force for drivers caught using their phone behind the wheel, but it seems that many motorists seem undeterred by the punishments, because they do not believe they will be caught, according to car insurance and breakdown service RAC.
Derbyshire Police are still making arrests for people using the handheld devices with 112 offences of mobile phone use being recorded in the county between March 1 this year and July 31.
In total 2,482 mobile phone offences were recorded by the force between January 1, 2014 and April 30 this year.
Campaigns to generate awareness about the new laws resulted in 25 mobile use offences in January and 65 offences in March, two of which were new drivers who had their licences revoked.
Figures obtained by the Press Association revealed that more than 200 drivers a day were caught using their mobile phones illegally in the four weeks after the changes took effect, which is equivalent to one every seven minutes.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: "Drivers tell us there are not enough police on the roads enforcing driving laws, so inevitably there will be concern that people are getting away with breaking them.
"Illegal mobile phone use at the wheel has been a growing problem in the UK and those that persist in breaking the law need to know there is a real threat of getting caught.
"We welcomed the tougher penalties that came in earlier this year, but to be effective they must be backed up by rigorous enforcement."
Mr Dennis said stretched police forces were "doing their best under difficult circumstances" but warned that the reduction in dedicated roads police officers "risks allowing the epidemic of using a hand-held phone at the wheel to continue or even worsen".
He added: "The public is entitled to question whether the Government is allocating enough resources to keeping our roads safe."
Drivers who fall foul of the rules face receiving six points on their licence and a £200 fine – which is up from the previous penalty of three penalty points and a £100 fine.