More than 86% of respondents to an annual IAM RoadSmart survey believe mobile phone distraction has become more of a problem in the last three years.
Published today (23 Nov), the ‘Safety Culture Survey’ which questioned 2,000 UK drivers also found that 72% believed aggressive driving has worsened over the same time period, with more than 60% reporting the same for drug-driving.
First produced in 2015, the survey looks at UK motorists’ safety attitudes and behaviour. It asks about the potential problems faced by motorists now compared to three years ago, including perceived threats to personal safety while driving and support for potential new regulations.
IAM RoadSmart describes the survey’s findings as ‘worrying’, saying that Government, road safety bodies and car makers all need to work together to allay the fear caused by distracted drivers.
On the illegal use of mobile phones, 94% of respondents labelled drivers checking or updating social media as a threat to their personal safety. The corresponding figures for drivers text messaging or e-mailing, and talking on mobiles were 93% and 91% respectively.
This was higher than the perceived threat from drink and drug driving – 89% and 88% respectively.
IAM RoadSmart says that survey reveals ‘huge approval’ for stricter measures to prevent and reduce drivers using mobile technology in cars.
97% of those surveyed strongly supported a law outlawing reading, typing, or sending a text message or email while driving; 86% strongly supported the regulation of in car technology to minimise distraction to drivers; and 67% strongly supported a law prohibiting the use of any type of mobile phone while driving, hand-held or hands-free.
Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “The worries and concerns of Britain’s 32m drivers should be listened to. Whilst we can all take more responsibility for our actions it is clear that distraction and congestion are the two biggest bugbears for drivers today.
“New road building and smart motorways will help with congestion but our survey has shown that UK motorists have real concerns about the way mobile phone technology could be a threat to their safety. More than 90% say checking social media, texting and talking on mobile phones whilst driving scares them – these are figures that cannot be ignored.
“It is important that Government, road safety bodies and car makers work together to allay the fear caused by distracted drivers. Recent tragic high profile cases underline the need for a combination of education, safe design and enforcement to make sure that the high-tech benefits of our modern cars do not prove a threat to safety of all road users."
Want to know more about mobile phones and road safety?
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre