Thirty-three per-cent of motorists use mobile phones while driving
Thirty-three per-cent of motorists use mobile phones while driving, according to research conducted for insurance specialist Liverpool Victoria (LV). As such seventy-seven per-cent of offenders answer calls, forty-nine per-cent send texts, thirty per-cent check directions, twenty-four per-cent read e-mails, and fourteen per-cent log into social networking sites. Furthermore, eighteen per-cent of motorists believe that using hand held phones is “acceptable” regardless of the law. Considering these figures it is surprising, arguably, that so few drivers are convicted. As such, based on LV's freedom of information request data, only one-million drivers have been convicted of using hand-held mobiles since their use was banned nearly ten years ago. This equates to about one-hundred thousand per-year which is low considering one-third of motorists break the law. Why so few? Because the Police have to catch offenders in the act as today's cameras cannot identify users. This, however, could change in the future as laser cameras can catch offenders from half a mile.John O'Roarke, Managing Director of Liverpool Victoria Car Insurance, said: "It's been nearly ten years since legislation banning the use of hand-held phones when driving was introduced, so it's worrying to see that many motorists are continuing to use their devices when on the road. While it can seem tempting for people to use their phones at the wheel whilst driving they should always pull over to make a call, send a text, or browse the internet. Liverpool Victoria also commissioned an observational study. This took place in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester and recorded the behaviour of over six-thousand five-hundred motorists close to pedestrian crossings and junctions. The research was conducted in six-hour shifts on different weekdays. One conclusion was that motorists using hand-held mobiles whilst in charge of vehicles were twice as likely to drive erratically than those within the law. Researchers therefore witnessed ”reckless driving, speeding, and sudden braking”. Furthermore, thirty per-cent of these offenders failed to stop at pedestrian crossings compared to only ten per-cent of those not using hand-held devices. The penalties for breaking mobile phone laws can be severe for both drivers and motorcycle riders. As such, offenders face £60 fixed penalty notices and receive three points on their licences. These, of course, could increase insurance premiums. Furthermore, motorists who challenge fixed penalty notices in court might see their punishments increased to bans and £1,000 fines. This rises further to £2,500 for bus and goods vehicle drivers. There are, however, exceptions when mobile phones can be used legally. As such, motorists can contact the emergency services if it is “unsafe or impractical to stop” and their use while parked is not an offence. There is one more thing to consider. Those who crash while using mobile phones could be convicted of dangerous driving - or causing death by dangerous driving - which can lead to imprisonment. Best use Bluetooth.