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Two thirds using mobile phones while driving

Mon, 01 Sep 2014

TWO THIRDS of drivers in the UK admit to using their mobile phone while driving despite it being illegal and dangerous.

A study has found 60% of drivers make calls, send texts and even browse the internet on their phones when behind the wheel. Research by Flexed shows six out of 10 drivers say they answer the phone or reply to texts when driving.

The study also found that 45% of drivers admit to using their phone illegally in the car, while 78% of van drivers admit to the same offence. Lorry drivers are less likely to use the phone while at the wheel but 31% still say they do.

Many drivers believe they will not be caught using their phone when driving as conviction rates for illegal mobile phone use have fallen over the past 12 months.

Department of Transport figures attribute 17 deaths and 548 injuries to the use of mobile phones at the wheel in 2012, although the toll is almost certainly much higher. Between 2010 and 2012, more than 9,000 accidents were blamed on distractions such as phones, sat navs and car radios.

Flexed’s Johnny Ratcliffe said: ‘Despite frequent news stories of accidents, injuries and deaths caused by people using their phone while driving, people still don't get the message.

‘The major problem with in-vehicle phone use is that it's not become the taboo in the same way that smoking in public has become anti-social. It's only through concerted pressure on drivers, such as naming-and-shaming, that we can change deeply entrenched habits.’

By Press Association reporters