risks of mobile phone multi-tasking
Hands off - stay safe and avoid increased penalties for using a hand-held phone while driving
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Rising price of using mobile phones at wheel

Proposed new penalties include:

  • 6 points on your licence, instead of the current three
  • On-the-spot fine doubled from £100 to £200
  • Further details about the penalties for hand-held phone use here

DO you text, Facebook, make calls and Instagram behind the wheel? If you do, then you’re among three-quarters of drivers in the world who do just that despite the high risks of mobile phone  multi-tasking at the wheel.

Get this:  a whopping 74% of drivers admit to using their mobile phones behind the wheel; 24% claim to send text messages; and almost 9% admitting to using social media.

These are the worrying insights following a global survey from leasing company LeasePlan.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in Britain in 2014, including 21 that were fatal.

Only last week truck driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for ten years for killing a mother and three children when his vehicle smashed into their car in stationary traffic on the A34 near Newbury in Berkshire as he scrolled through music selections on his phone.

And in September a Hampshire van driver was jailed for nine years for killing a cyclist while texting – after eight previous convictions for using a mobile phone while driving.

With more than 600 people being caught three times, as the data from BBC Radio 5 live freedom of information request to the DVLA shows, the penalty increase announced by the government last month is not surprising.

It is hoped that tougher sanctions will tackle the problem: more points and a doubling of the fine (see panel).

However, out of the 17 countries and nearly 5,000 motorists questioned in LeasePlan’s MobilityMonitor survey, motorists in the UK appear to be more aware of the dangers of driver distractions.

British drivers are least likely to use their mobile for social media behind the wheel with 3%, compared to over one-fifth 22% of motorists in the Netherlands who ranked the highest, followed by Hungary 14%.

Motorists in the UK are also the third least likely in the world – behind the USA (34%) and India (36%) – to use their phone for making calls while driving (43%), compared to Denmark with 90% who ranked the highest, closely followed by Sweden with 89% and Norway coming at 88%.

Generation-X drivers appear to see less danger in multi-tasking while driving, as over one-fifth admit to sending a text at the wheel, in comparison to just 10% of Baby-boomers, who claim to doing the same.

Additional results from LeasePlan’s global MobilityMonitor Survey reveal that:

  • 35% of drivers admit to eating, with drivers from the Netherlands being the worst culprits 68% of drivers say they drink behind the wheel
  • 2% apply makeup
  • 5% read
  • and 2% of Slovakians admit to shaving while driving.

One-fifth of those questioned in LeasePlan’s MobilityMonitor survey believe the use of a mobile phone while driving is the biggest cause of car accidents on the road.

Talking about the dangers of multi-tasking behind the wheel, Lesley Slater, LeasePlan operations and business development director, said: “It is encouraging to see that UK drivers appear to have a higher level of awareness around the dangers of mobile phone use when driving, but studies continue to show that driving ability is clearly impaired if motorists do use their phone.

“The number of incidents now related to mobile technology and other distractions at the wheel, along with the number of people who chose to ignore current rules and laws, means that driver attitudes will have to change, particularly amongst younger people.”

 

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