The sight of drivers using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel, particularly in stationary traffic, has become so common that a new report has found a huge majority of motorists say they have seen others doing it. 95% of drivers questioned in a survey by the RAC stated that they regularly see others playing, texting or using their mobile phones in some way or another whilst stationary in traffic.
The survey was carried out by the RAC and over 2000 people were questioned. Using your mobile phone in any handheld way whilst the wheel is illegal. 64% of survey respondents confirmed that in the last hour they had been behind the wheel they saw at least one other driver committing this particular offence. From this group 6% also said that they actually saw between 5 and 7 drivers breaking the law whereas a larger 36% said they saw one or two offences. Only 26% of motorists who were surveyed said they saw nothing at all.
16% of those questioned said that on every journey they make they see people looking down as if they are using a mobile phone or device when at the traffic lights and the remaining 84%, of the 95% total who said they see this happen, said they saw it less frequently.
Motorists were also honest about their own use of their mobile device. 30% said they have used their handheld mobile phone at the wheel, with 29% of these admitting to doing it occasionally whereas 1% say they use their mobile phone on almost every journey, completely flouting the law.
The reasons behind people using their phones include 61% of people who were making short calls and 49% saying they had used their handheld phone for checking texts or emails whilst behind the wheel and 47% said they had actually sent a text.
Looking at the gender split the use of mobile phones is almost the same although men are more likely to admit to using their phone to make a call whilst at the wheel and more women admit to sending a text.
Speaking on behalf of the RAC, Simon Williams commented: “Thirteen years after the introduction of the current law forbidding use of a handheld phone at the wheel of a vehicle, this behaviour is far from being stamped out… The lack of a high profile advertising campaign similar to the ones targeting drink-drivers and speeders has not helped, nor has the decline in the number of roads police officers as there is very little fear among offenders of being caught.”
The government has considered increasing the penalty for using handheld mobile phones but there are suggestions that funding should be put into policing the offence rather than making the penalty higher as a higher penalty won’t achieve much without police to catch the offenders.
The risks of focusing on your phone rather than the road can be fatal and it isn’t worth the potential danger and if you’re found to be at fault you could find yourself responsible for the other party’s damages as well as at risk of prosecution.
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