27 February 2017
- Almost a third (30%) of drivers admit to using their phone behind the wheel
- Over half (54%) of drivers don’t believe the law change will go far enough to deter drivers and are calling for a further increase in points and fine
- Over two thirds (67%) of drivers think offenders should be banned from driving for using their phones.
Two fifths (39%) of drivers aren’t aware of the law change which comes into force on Wednesday 1 March and will see the number of penalty points and fines given to drivers caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel double.
From 1 March 2017, drivers who are caught using their phone will receive 6 penalty points and a £200 fine - previously 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.
However, over half of drivers (54%) don’t believe that the change will be enough to deter drivers from using their phones illegally. Of those who don’t believe the increases will go far enough, 79% believe that further increases to both penalty points and fines are necessary to make a positive change in driver behaviours. Over two thirds (67%) even believe that offenders should be banned from driving for using their phones.
Over a tenth (13%) think the fine needs to be increased, with 27% of these believing that this should be £1000 or more whilst 7% think the number of penalty points needs to be increased.
However, a quarter (24%) believe that their driving habits will change for the better as a result of the law change with it deterring them from using their phones.
Over a quarter of drivers questioned this week (30%) still admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel. The main use is to make or receive calls (73%) and to use their device as a sat nav to search for a destination when they are lost.
What do drivers use their phone for behind the wheel?
|Action||% of drivers who admit to this
|1||To make/receive calls
|2||To search for a destination
|3||To text or instant message
|4||To check/write emails
|5||To check/update social networks
|6||To use a search engine
|7||To read the news
|8||To take a selfie
When it comes to frequency of usage, 16% of drivers admit to using their phones behind the wheel a few times a week, 15% a few times a month with 6% using their phones every day.
Lack of time is a deciding factor for many who use their phones when driving with 16% using their phone for this reason. However 14% use their phones simply because they get bored in queuing traffic. Nearly a tenth (9%) do it as they believe ‘it won’t hurt anyone'.
Reasons drivers give for using their phones behind the wheel
|1||I’m short of time/running late||17%|
|2||I get bored in traffic jams||15%|
|3||My car doesn’t have hands free connectivity||14%|
|4||I need to check notifications as soon as I receive them||13%|
|5||I’ve never been caught||10%|
|6||It doesn’t hurt anybody||9%|
|7||There aren’t any police/cameras where I drive||9%|
|8||I don’t want to wear earphones when driving||5%|
James Hillon, Head of Products at Co-op Insurance, said: “Whilst it can be tempting to take that call or check that text, using a mobile phone whilst driving is dangerous and can seriously impact a motorist’s ability to drive safely, which is why it is illegal.
“Despite this, a third of drivers have admitted that they use their phones behind the wheel for a range of reasons from not having enough time in the day, to not wanting to be bored in a traffic jam.
“Whilst it seems as though the increase in penalty may encourage better behaviour, with a quarter now less likely to phone and drive, much of the driving population believe that the increase could have gone further.
“At the Co-op we aim to help build safer communities. We welcome the penalty change and believe that anything that may lead to safer roads and communities in the UK can only be a good thing. However only time will tell what the impact of this penalty increase will be.”
Notes to editors
Research conducted by Atomik w/c 20 February 2017 questioning 1,500 UK motorists.
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