New Year is the perfect time for drivers to commit to keeping their eyes firmly focused on the road, not their mobile phone.
This is the warning, after 28% of motorists surveyed admitted to using their phone while driving. With nearly one in three drivers knowingly flouting the law when it comes to ‘device driving’, the UK’s roads are a hazard for all road users.
Of those motorists who admitted to using their mobile, 5% said they didn’t believe using a phone was any more distracting than adjusting the air-conditioning or tuning in the radio. The harsh reality is that mobile phone usage by drivers is the second most common cause of road traffic accidents in the UK.
Survey spokesman, Jim Murray Jones, explains: “Many drivers clearly still seem to think that using a mobile phone is harmless, and they have no consideration for the very real safety risks. However, the government wants to put paid to this by making using your phone as socially unacceptable as drink driving. In 2017, penalties will increase from three to six points on a driver’s licence, and the fine they pay will increase from £100 to £200. In addition, newly qualified drivers could be made to retake their test the first time they’re caught.”
Reasons For Phone Use
The most common reasons for phone use are: making a call (61%), using Google Maps (32%) and texting, including checking WhatsApp, (32%). Although 25-44 year old drivers are more likely to use their phone while driving, 18-24 year-olds are more likely to text than make phone calls. Worryingly, 18% of motorists use their phone to browse the internet while driving, with 55-64 year-olds most likely to do this. A further 14% select music, and 11% check their social media accounts. Gaming apps such as Pokemon Go are big distractions for 4% of drivers, especially those aged 25-34.