Many motorists still checking their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel

Despite tougher new penalties, some drivers are still flouting the new laws

Despite tougher new penalties being introduced in the UK earlier this year, one in six drivers are still using their mobile phone behind the wheel.
Since March 1, any driver caught at the wheel on their mobile device, can be issued with a £200 fine and given six penalty points on their driving licence.
But despite the changes, 16% of drivers questioned by Co-op Insurance admitted that they still pick up their mobile whilst behind the wheel to text, make calls and check their social media apps – flouting the law despite knowing that they could receive a much higher fine and end up with six points on their licence.

Despite tougher new penalties, some drivers are still flouting the new laws

Many motorists still checking their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Of those who admitted to using their mobile phone whilst driving since the tougher new penalties were introduced, around 71% said they used it to make a call, whilst 27% of those questioned said they texted a friend or family member and 23% admitted to checking their Facebook timeline – all of which are dangerous to do whilst driving as you take your eyes off the road to pick up your mobile and do what you are doing.
According to the research gathered by Co-op Insurance, motorists were quite happy to drive with one hand on the wheel and their mobile in the other!
Of those who took part in the survey, 11% said they used their mobile phone whilst sat in traffic and the same percentage admitted to picking their mobile up whilst stopped at traffic lights and an alarming 10% owned up to using their mobile on the motorway during stationary periods.
It’s thought that these unexpected figures could be due to the fact that many drivers are still unaware of the changes that came into effect on March 1, as 16% of those questioned said they had no idea of the bigger fine and six points on the licence.
Upon further questioning however, Co-op Insurance believes that most of those still flouting the law, are willing to risk being caught despite tougher new laws being introduced.
What’s alarming about the results, is that only 6% of those questioned said they had resisted using their mobile since the changes were brought in, whilst 11% admitted to using their phone just as much as they did before the new laws were introduced.
The Co-op and road safety campaigners have been left feeling nothing but disdain following the survey and its findings.
“We’ve welcomed the penalty change as we believe that anything that may lead to safer roads and thus communities in the UK can only be a good thing. However it’s still concerning that since the law change on 1st March, a sixth of drivers have used their phones whilst driving,” said James Hillon, head of products at Co-op Insurance.
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