A recent survey suggests that despite the introduction of tougher mobile phone penalties, as many as two thirds of motorists may still be using their device at the wheel.
In the survey, published last week by the price comparison website MyCarNeedsA.com, 66% of respondents admitted to texting when stationary in traffic, 37% confessed to checking social media and 18% to making calls.
While the vehicle is on the move, 20% of respondents admitted to making calls, 6% to checking social media and 2% to texting.
On 1 March, the penalty for those caught using a mobile phone while driving doubled to six points and a £200 fine.
The MyCarNeedsA.com survey of more than 1,000 motorists, carried out in April 2017, found that just 37% of motorists said that the tougher penalties will stop them using their phones while driving.
When asked if the Government was doing enough to curb mobile phone usage, 41% of respondents said that the new measures were not tough enough.
In terms of knowledge of the law itself, 8% of respondents thought they could use their phone while stationary with the engine running – and almost 19% thought they would only be fined if caught using a phone while actually driving. In fact, it is illegal to touch a mobile phone, even with a hands free set, while driving and has been since 2003.
Scott Hamilton, managing director of MyCarNeedsA.com, said: “The Government’s recent crackdown does not appear to be discouraging motorists to abide by the law and it’s deeply concerning that so many are continuing to use their mobile phones when they are driving.
“It’s clear that there is some confusion over what the fines apply to and the Government needs to do more to educate motorists about what constitutes a fine and points. It also looks like the new fines don’t go far enough, to be a strong deterrent for motorists.”
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