The research, carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory in October, found that 2% of the 27,900 drivers were observed using a mobile phone. Eighty-five per cent of the phones observed in use were hand-held.
But David Jamieson, Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, stressed: 'The surveys were carried out at road junctions and may not be representative of the extent of mobile phone use by drivers on all roads.'
The Government is now considering proposals for more detailed surveys. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says drivers using mobile phones have been implicated in at least six deaths on Britain's roads and claims that using a phone, whether hand-held or hands-free, increases the likelihood of a driver having an accident.