Almost 1,200 drivers have been disqualified for using their phones behind the wheel since the introduction of stricter penalties last year.

The law was changed in March 2017 to impose a fine of up to £200 and six penalty points on any motorist caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving. As a result, drivers who have had their licence for less than two years can be banned for a single offence.

Since the introduction of the new rules, the government has disqualified 582 offenders who had held their licence for less than two years. A further 599 drivers who had more than two years’ experience were also banned.

However, it seems that the number of drivers being banned pales in comparison to the number of drivers committing the offence, after a new study found that almost a quarter of young drivers make calls from behind the wheel.

A survey of 500 UK motorists by car retailer Imperial Cars revealed that 24 percent of 18-24-year-olds admit to regularly making calls while driving, and that one-fifth of 25-34-year-olds even take selfies behind the wheel.

Frighteningly, just 41 percent of 18-24-year-olds said they would never use a phone while driving, backing up research from September, which estimated that nine million drivers could still be using their phones while on the road.

‘Since the introduction of the new mobile phone laws last year, it seems many drivers – especially those that are less experienced – are still willing to take risks behind the wheel and many have lost their licence as a result,’ said Neil Smith, Imperial Cars’ operations director.

‘Breaking the habit of touching your phone whilst in the driver’s seat can be challenging, especially with the technological advancements that come as standard on most mobile phones, but the risks you impose on both yourself and others when distracted behind the wheel are really not worth it. Unfortunately, the number of drivers still opting to ignore the law is scarily high.

‘It’s better to be safe than sorry and not to touch your phone when you’re at the wheel – the laws are there to protect you and not to punish you, and for a newly qualified driver, the risk of losing your licence is huge.’

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