Data reveals distracted drivers repeatedly caught in Essex

Police van as data reveals the number of distracted drivers in Essex

Latest data on the number of people caught in Essex while distracted at the wheel - Credit: Archant

Essex had the fourth highest number of drivers caught multiple times distracted at the wheel over the past four years, figures reveal.

A Freedom of Information request revealed 58 people in Essex were given CU80 endorsements on their drivers licences over the period.

CU80 endorsements are given to people who are caught not in control of their vehicles, such as by using a mobile phone while driving. The data came from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

But rates are not necessarily higher in Essex than elsewhere, drivers are just more likely to get caught, according to a partnership organisation between police and local councils.

Only Greater London, West Yorkshire and West Midlands ranked higher than Essex in terms of the number of drivers caught more than once.

In a separate Freedom of Information request by the Press Association it was revealed that 932 British drivers were convicted for the offence more than once over the same time period, with one driver being caught nine times.

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP), a partnership between local councils and the police, says rates are high in the county because of effective roads policing.

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SERP chair Nicola Foster said: “The prevalence of recorded road traffic offences is a reflection of policing levels and is not a reliable measure of the underlying compliance with the law. 

“If we had no roads policing then we wouldn’t be able to record any traffic offences, making it appear everyone in Essex is a perfect driver.

“The high prevalence in Essex is indicative of the investment made in roads policing in the county, making Essex one of the places that you are most likely to get caught for road traffic offences.

“Essex has more traffic than any other local highway authority area in the country. Including Southend and Thurrock, which are also covered by Essex Police, DfT figures show 8.9 billion vehicle miles driven in Essex in 2020. 

“More traffic means more offences for Essex Police to detect.”

On its website, SERP says its purpose is to reduce death and serious injury on Essex roads to zero by 2040.

Responding to Panorama’s recent segment called Britain’s Killer Roads, SERP said it operated 140 static safety camera systems in Essex.

Essex Police prosecuted 57,000 drivers for speeding in 2021 and Essex County Council delivered over 630,032 educational courses to offenders, the response said.

In the last four years, 138 people in Greater London, 64 people in West Yorkshire and 59 people in the West Midlands were given CU80 endorsements more than once, according to the DVLA’s Freedom of Information response.

There were 38 counties with less than five people given the endorsements more than once over the same period.

According to PA’s FOI request, 90,057 drivers nationwide were caught once.