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Fears at drivers' mobile phone use

The brother of a woman killed by a driver using a mobile phone has spoken of his fear people will think the problem has gone away.

He spoke out after new figures showed the number of people given penalty points for the offence has fallen by almost a quarter.

Last year 72,753 fixed penalty notices - which includes a fine and three penalty points - were handed to drivers, down from 95,941 in 2013, according to a Fr eedom of Information request by the BBC.

Paul Newman, whose sister Ellen died, said he is concerned the drop in figures could give people the wrong idea about a problem that "is not going to go away".

He told the BBC: "I'm scared the figures will make people think they've conquered this - we really haven't."

Figures from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme show almost 100,000 people took the What's Driving Us? course last year.

The "driver re-education" course can be offered to first-time offenders instead of receiving points on their licence.

Figures, received from 36 police forces, showed the Metropolitan police issued the most fixed penalty notices last year, handing out 22,729, while Staffordshire police issued just four.

Road safety charity Brake said the figures may reflect a "decline in policing resources".

A spokesman told the BBC: "We need traffic policing to be made a national priority, so police have the resources to catch and penalise risky multi-tasking drivers, as well as much higher fines to truly deter phone use by drivers."

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