A third of all drivers – more than 10 million motorists – admit to using a hand-held phone while driving and one in 10 continue to send text messages from their phone while on the road.
Details have emerged from research into driver behaviour comissioned by RAC Legal Services.
Company spokesman Mark Hodges said: ‘We suspected this was happening, but our research proves the shocking number of drivers flouting the law. Drivers using a hand-held mobile phone pose a major threat to the safety of all road users and the law seems to have had little effect on their attitudes.
‘Even though people continue to take huge risks, they should be aware the law is now clear and no motorist should be using ignorance as a defence.’ Since December last year, those caught using a hand-held set while driving face a fixed penalty fine of £30.
The revelation comes four months after a Fleet News survey showed that 50% of fleets suspected their drivers were breaking the mobile phone law (Fleet NewsNet, May 11). Asked whether they thought they had drivers flouting the law, 51% of our fleet panel said yes.
The same RAC Legal Services research also found that nearly one in four people (24%) admitted to driving while tired during the past six months.
It pointed to Department for Transport findings that suggest one in five accidents on motorways and other monotonous roads is caused by someone falling asleep at the wheel.
It added that women appeared to be most at risk, with 25% admitting having driven when tired.
The research also found that 4% of men had driven while over the legal limit for alcohol, compared with 2% of women.