A staggering 57 per cent of drivers admit to feeling just as “in control as normal”.
Despite behind the wheel distractions accounting for six per cent of all fatal accidents, a staggering 57 per cent of drivers admit to feeling just as “in control as normal” when using their mobile phones.
Terry Hogan, our Managing Director, says: “We understand that mobile phone use is a huge part of our everyday lives, but it’s evident from this survey that drivers underestimate how much they are distracted by them. Car manufacturers are responding with more integration, but it seems drivers still feel that they need to use their mobile devices whatever the consequences. Better driver education is needed, as well as harsher penalties.”
Survey highlights dangers
As a leading authority on data and analytics around driving, we were of the opinion that many drivers were failing to recognise the dangers of using mobile phones and decided to conduct our own research, which reinforced our beliefs.
The research of nearly 1,200 drivers (1,188) also revealed that 43 per cent of motorists would not hesitate to use their mobile phone while behind the wheel. The survey highlighted that almost a quarter of motorists (24 per cent) use their mobile phones while driving at high speeds.
Terry adds: “We appreciate the honesty of the people who completed our survey and understand that many of them are safe and capable drivers. However, a large percentage clearly aren’t understanding the dangers and we hope that these results will make motorists realise that a mobile phone is a potentially lethal weapon. We want to bring the love of driving back to peoples’ journeys and this won’t happen unless our roads are made safer.”
In Britain, the Department for Transport reported in 2013 – the latest data available – that there were 2,995 collisions where distraction in the vehicle – such as using mobile phones – was listed as a contributory factor, making up three per cent of all accidents. Of these, 84 were fatal, equating to six per cent of all fatal accidents.
A Government proposal – to be consulted on in 2016 – is looking at increasing penalties for motorists who endanger lives by using hand-held mobile phones while driving. These drivers could face an increase from the current three penalty points to four while the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150.
Professional drivers will also come under closer scrutiny, HGV drivers will see the penalty increase from the current three points to six and the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin stated at the time: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives - I want to see it become a social taboo like not wearing a seatbelt."
He added: "The message is clear: keep your hands on the wheel, not your phone. If you keep taking calls while at the wheel, you could end up being banned from the road."
Edmund King, AA President agreed with the measures that the DFT is introducing and that it is right to clamp down on hand-held mobile phone usage, but more police officers must help to enforce this law if it is going to work.
He told us in December 2015: "This epidemic of hand-held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives and drivers have demanded action. Three-quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones on some or most journeys, with one-quarter seeing it on every journey according to our polls.
"The majority of drivers will welcome these increased fines and penalty points, alongside driver improvement courses, to tackle those who use hand-held mobiles at the wheel."
Mr King added: "AA members ranked hand-held phone use, alongside tailgating, as the two most irritating and dangerous actions on the roads in an AA/Populus poll of 29,660 drivers earlier this year. We welcome this government crackdown and hope it makes drivers hang up when behind the wheel."
“We also need to see more cops in cars to help enforce the law and send out a strong warning to drivers who assume they will just get away with it. The increased points will mean some drivers lose their licences more quickly and is likely to hike up their insurance premiums.”
The statistics in full
- 57 per cent of drivers admit to feeling just as “in control as normal” when using their mobile phones while driving
- 43 per cent of motorists would not hesitate to use their mobile phone while behind the wheel
- 72 per cent of people take the time to use their phone while stopped in traffic or at lights
- 59 per cent of drivers use their mobile phone during normal driving
- 44 per cent of people use their phones at low speed
- 24 per cent use their mobile phones while travelling at high speeds on the motorway
- 15 per cent of people admitted to answering calls directly on a hand-held phone
- 24 per cent of drivers check SMS directly on their phone
- 16 per cent of motorists check emails or notifications on a hand-held phone
- 31 per cent of people see someone using a mobile phone while driving during the majority of their car journeys
- 30 per cent of drivers feel that mobile phone usage while driving has become more prevalent over the past 12 months
- 38 per cent think mobile phone use while driving has stayed on the same level
- 2 per cent of people are of the opinion that mobile phone usage in the past year is much less prevalent.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in our anonymous survey.