A new survey has suggested that a third of drivers are still using their mobile phone while at the wheel, despite the introduction of stronger penalties.
Published on Wednesday (2 August), the results of the Kwik Fit survey suggest that 26% of drivers use their satnav or GPS on their phone, while 19% of respondents confessed to taking calls. 17% admitted to reading text messages.
16% of respondents said they make phone calls without a handsfree set, with around 12% sending texts.
The Kwik Fit survey suggests that drivers aged 18-24 years are nearly three times more likely than the average motorist to believe it’s legal to use your phone when stopped at traffic lights, and twice as likely to say you can answer calls but not make outgoing ones.
The survey also suggests it is the youngest drivers who are most likely to have experienced trouble on the road due to mobile phone use.
40% of 18-24 year olds have either had a collision or near miss, or got involved in an argument because somebody was using their mobile phone, more than double the figure for all drivers.
8% of drivers aged 18-24 years say they have had a collision because they were distracted by their mobile phone, with a further 8% saying they have almost done so. This compares with figures of 2% and 3% respectively for all drivers.
The survey also explores awareness of the increased penalties for mobile phone use, which came into effect on 1 March.
43% of respondents didn’t know that the penalty for using a hand-held phone when driving is six points. 53% were not aware that those caught using a phone in their first two years of driving would lose their licence as a result of picking up six points.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The findings of this study are very worrying indeed. While car manufacturers have made great strides in improving safety, it is vital that drivers remember that they are the most important safety feature in the vehicle.
“Any form of distraction can have serious consequences, as sadly, the statistics clearly show.
“It is especially important for inexperienced drivers to be fully focused on what they are doing. The fact that this report has found that younger drivers have less knowledge of the rules and are more likely to take risks means more needs to be done to educate them in the very first weeks and months of driving.
“Kwik Fit is working with schools and colleges around the country to hold events aimed at improving the safety of those drivers who are new to the road and education on the use of mobiles is an important part of that.”
Want to know more about mobile phones and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory
Category: Mobile phones