Fleet News

Penalties not deterring motorists from using mobiles

New research by BCA has revealed 95% of motorists have witnessed other drivers using a handheld mobile within the last month.

Nearly 90% of motorists who responded to the BCA survey said the use of a handheld mobile device while driving was ‘very distracting’, with 95% claiming to have personally witnessed another motorist doing so in the previous month.

Over half (52%) of those surveyed believed that penalties for using a handheld mobile device should be more severe, despite nearly a third (30%) not knowing what the current penalty is.  Eighteen percent believed a conviction would lead to a £1,000 fine, whereas the current tariff is an automatic 3 points and £100 fine.

However, the BCA data also reveals that there appears to be a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, with 42% of motorists admitting to having spoken on a handheld mobile device themselves while driving. Over a quarter (27%) admitted to texting while behind the wheel; 13% have taken a photo and 6% admitted to accessing social media whilst driving.

“The interesting thing about this study is that, whilst almost everybody was happy to vent their indignation at other drivers’ carelessness, a large number also owned-up to the very things that concerned them”, explained Tim Naylor, editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report.

Motorists responding to the BCA survey were also concerned about other driving distractions including personal grooming (74%), reaching for objects (58%) and smoking (40%). Transporting a pet was considered somewhat distracting by over half (53%).

“It is clear from our research that there is a groundswell of support for stronger penalties for using a hand-held mobile while driving – whether talking, texting or accessing social media,” concluded Naylor.

"This is alongside other worries about careless day-to-day driving behaviour.”


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  • Darren - 30/10/2014 11:42

    Not within the last month, within the last 24 hours! Also people applying makup, using tablets, reading, shaving, watching a film! What we actually need is more police on the road stopping people doing these, and many other things. People do this because they know they will very likely get away with it. Watching people driver through 'very' red lights is also now a daily thing. I'm not just talking cars, I also see vans, buses (inc double deckers), large lorries, motorbikes...

  • Colin - 30/10/2014 12:52

    Darren makes a good point. Regulation without enforcement is a waste of time. As regards to traffic lights, where I live green and amber mean the same thing and red means that at least 3 more cars can go through.

  • Mark Phillips - 30/10/2014 13:32

    Same old story guys but no one in power listens. Enforcement is needed and this means more police on the road. The governments theory of if we make it illegal then no one will do it, is'nt working

  • reg dixon - 30/10/2014 14:46

    I find that transporting children is a distraction.

  • Edward Handley - 31/10/2014 10:56

    I find these results quite worrying: If 95% have seen someone using a hand held mobile in the last month it means that 5% must be driving around with their eyes closed. We really need to be very wary of the results of surveys like this. This survey clearly shows that the majority of people want much stiffer penalties for using mobile phones but that is not true - they want stiffer penalties for others using a mobile phone, not for them. The vast majority want to be able to use their phone, in safety, while everyone else is concentrating on their driving. There is nothing new here. Every survey shows that the public want hanging brought back, but obviously not for them or their family - only for serious criminals. The simple fact is that raising the penalties is pointless unless there is going to be adequate enforcement and the Government are not going to provide the funding for all the extra Police necessary. They could enhance the powers on the HA Traffic Officers and turn them into a US style Highway Patrol but HA, the Police and the the public do not seem to want that. Perhaps its time to look at this in a different way. The mobile phone is here and is not going away and people want to use their phones while driving. Research has conclusively shown that phone conversations, even with hands free, are a serious distraction and are much worse than talking to a passenger, but no one seems to be asking why that is. Is it time to start some serious research into why phones are so much more distracting so that the manufacturers can develop a phone that is much less dangerous? Very few people support a ban on drivers talking to passengers (except for buses and coaches) so let's try and develop a phone that is no more dangerous than talking to a passenger. I was told by a telecoms expert that telephones only pick up and transmit 20% of the frequencies of the human voice. That might be a good place to start......

    • Darren - 31/10/2014 11:04

      @Edward Handley - There needs to be a 'like' button on this site, because I like this train of thought

  • James Nayler - 31/10/2014 11:58

    I am sure many of us have see the video's on facebook of Police drivers using their mobiles while driving. It is a dangerous habit but when you see this you can understand why drivers feel its not a big issue.

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