Currently reading: Mobile phone use behind the wheel rises
RAC report finds a 31% rise in handheld mobile phone use while driving and calls on the Government to act

The number of drivers using handheld mobile phones behind the wheel is rising, according to a new report.

In its annual Report on Motoring, released today, the RAC found that the number of people admitting to using a phone while driving has risen from 8% in 2014 to 31%. The report also found an increase in texting, emailing and social media use while in the driver’s seat, up from 9% in 2014 to 19% today. A further 14% of those surveyed admitted taking photos or videoing while driving.

The RAC has called on the Government to launch an awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile while driving, as well as issuing tougher penalties for those flouting the law. Currently, those caught face a minimum £100 fine and three points on their licence, although this is set to increase to a minimum £150 fine and four penalty points, six for HGV drivers.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said the organisation believes better enforcement is needed, and called for more police on the roads.

Here's what the government has planned for those who use handheld mobile phones behind the wheel

“It is alarming to see that some drivers have clearly relaxed their attitudes to the risks associated with this behaviour, but more worrying is the increase in the percentage of motorists who actually admit to using a handheld device when driving.

“With compliance on some traffic laws including the use of handheld mobile phones seemingly getting worse, the RAC calls for an end to cuts to dedicated roads policing and urges the Government and Chief Constables to give greater priority to enforcement of road traffic laws,” he said.

The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) said the report highlighted the role police forces have in educating drivers and taking action against those who commit such offences. NPCC lead for roads policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said: “We share the RAC’s concerns about the level of mobile phone use by drivers, particularly as phones are becoming 'smarter'. Our approach is a blend of education and enforcement.

“We run national operations and forces take action locally. We will continue to stress the dangerous consequences, and arrest offenders, but we also need people to take responsibility for their behaviour behind the wheel and exert some social pressure on family and friends who take this risk.”

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A Government spokesperson said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world and it is totally unacceptable for motorists to endanger lives by using handheld mobile phones while driving.

“Offenders involved in fatal road accidents while using a mobile phone already face serious offences, such as causing death by dangerous driving, which can carry a substantial prison term. We have also proposed tougher penalties for mobile phone use to act as a deterrent and ensure it is not tolerated in society.”

Phill Tromans

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BigZoot 16 September 2016

Sickening

Anyone caught using their phone while driving should lose their licence for 6 months and be fined one month worth of their wages! True there are not enough Police about to catch these people, but there are plenty of speed cameras/traffic cameras about that can be enhanced to capture them in the act.
Greenracer 16 September 2016

I look down on a busy road

I look down on a busy road from my house, and I can see into the cars passing. It's not just people using their phones going by, it's people eating, drinking, reading, and not using seat belts, not bothering to belt up their kids etc. It worries me that these 'drivers' seem to think they can get away with this. Of course there are no police about. So...if they do get caught maybe we should crush their cars and ban them from the roads for 10 years. There is NO excuse.
db 15 September 2016

Connectionittis

There should be a new medical term connectionittis an affliction where people have to answer their phone as their life depends on it! I manage 30 people and often get calls whilst driving and depending on what I am doing, junction, lane change, roundabout etc I will resist and call them back at a better time. My last 3 cars have had ever improving connectivity and I have never had any connection issues. My wife has a car with no blue tooth and just doesn't answer if any one calls when driving or pulls over. I witnessed a brand new bmw 5 series (must have Bluetooth as standard) in front of me the other night driving erratically and changing lanes at last moment cutting up other cars and imagine my surprise as I turned to the driver at the lights to find that they were on their phone. Its not just driving these days that is dangerous walk along any pavement and peoples connectionittis dictates that they need to look at their phone text or god knows what and walk into you. And the cure is ..... common sense !