Fleet News

More than half of young drivers use a phone whilst driving

smartphone while driving

A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line reveals 25-34 year olds are taking huge risks by using their phone whilst driving.

More than half (55%) of 25-34 year old drivers questioned admitted they had sent or read a text message on their mobile, while behind the wheel of their car, in the last year.

Despite it being illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone at all while driving, more than four in 10 (42%) revealed they send or read messages at least once a week.

One in five young drivers (18-24) confirmed they regularly text and/or instant message when they are behind the wheel.

Just under half of drivers (49%) aged 25-34 admitted they sometimes go online or use apps (other than sat nav apps) while driving. Almost a third of drivers in that age group said they do that several times a week at least.

Reading and writing messages – whether texting, emailing or using apps or social networks – while driving is even more distracting than talking on a phone, as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road. Research by Brake showed texting drivers’ reaction times are 35% slower and they also have poor lane control.

Furthermore, one large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.

A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.

Zoe Carvin, a 42-year old teacher and mum of two, was killed when a 26-year old lorry driver ploughed into a queue of traffic because he was reading a text message.

Her husband Paul Carvin said: “When Zoe died it was because someone did something stupid. It was such a pointless death. Her death affected hundreds of lives. Two children have been brought up without a mother, 30 children lost their teacher, a driver has been jailed for three years; his life will never be the same either.

“Crashes like this devastate families. They are entirely preventable.”

Alice Bailey, campaigns and communications adviser for Brake, said: “Younger drivers, especially those aged between 25 and 34, simply aren’t getting the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.

“Doing any other complex task while driving hugely increases your chance of crashing. We’ve seen recent examples of drivers who have crashed while trying to play games like Pokémon Go or posting Snapchat images while behind the wheel. These drivers are putting their own and other people’s lives in grave danger by taking this risk. If a phone has to be used as a sat nav, it must be programmed before setting off on the journey and properly secured. There is no other acceptable way to use a phone while driving.”

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  • Busterrabbit - 01/08/2016 13:41

    Just look at any high street or pub/bar, all those under 35s staring at their phone aren't suddenly going to stop using their phone when they get in a car. What wen need is some serious Police action to catch these people, huge fines/bans that reflect the potential consequences when it goes wrong.

  • Lord2jags - 01/08/2016 14:08

    I agree, the Police need to be more vigilant towards it. The general public should also be able to submit video / photographic evidence to the police taken from dashcams (or a mobile phone, if the are a passenger in a vehicle) and they should then act upon it. Imagine how many people would stop doing it if they thought that any person travelling in another vehicle could be the "eyes" of the police and record them using or texting on their phone and give it to the police. I was travelling along the M4 a few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon as a passenger in our car being driven by my girlfriend I was sat in the back giving our 18 month old a bottle. We were doing about 75 and as we were overtaking a transit size van travelling only slightly slower than us I noticed the driver texting. As we have black windows on our car he could not see me. I told my girlfriend to slow down so I could film him as he's texting on his phone. As she did and he caught up with us again I opened my window and held my phone up and started filming him and do you know, he instantly dropped the phone out of his hands and it must have gone on the floor of his van somewhere. We pulled in in front of him and filmed the front of his van to get the numberplate and then stayed in front of him. I stopped filming and shut the window and we travelled about another 5-6 miles in front of him and even slowed down to 65 at points but he would not overtake us. He then left the motorway at the next junction.

  • Edward Handley - 01/08/2016 17:38

    It is generally very unwise, and frequently unsafe, for members of the public to try and police the roads. It often leads to very dangerous situations, particularly when a driver starts playing policeman. The comment above talks about driving on the motorway at 75 - that's an offence, then passing the van and slowing down to 65 with a view to forcing the van to pass, presumably so they could film the back fo the van and maybe make further reproving gestures. Fundamentally a bad idea - when someone if behaving dangerously the best thing to do, indeed the only thing to do is to keep well clear! The solution is more police patrolling our roads, not vigilante action, however well intentioned. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • Lord2jags - 02/08/2016 09:33

      You have not read my post accurately Edward, I was not the driver, I was a rear seat passenger in the vehicle. I agree that it would be dangerous for a driver to start recording the van on his/her phone and in no way do I condone that. We were travelling at 75 in order to complete an overtake of the van safely and speedily. I think you will generally find that there is a notional 10% margin in the speed limit before the police tend to class it as speeding particularly on a clear and dry day like it was that Saturday. We did not have the intention to force the van to overtake us again with the intention of filming the rear of the van. Why on earth would we want to film the rear of the van ? That would not show the driver texting would it! That is why I started filming immediately we passed him and continued to do so as we passed and pulled in in front of him. As I previously said, he immediately dropped his phone, that itself an admission of guilt, and could not or did not retrieve it all the time we were in front of him. Anyhow, perhaps your right, if the general public have the same understanding of "gathering admissible evidence" as you do then perhaps it is best that they do "keep well clear". On the other hand, "we" may be able to keep well clear of him but what about the dozens of other cars travelling behind him, will they be able to "keep well clear" of the multiple car pile up he causes when he hits the central reservation? At least this way, we prevented him from continuing his texting and thereby quite possibly prevented a road traffic collision, who knows !! I would also suggest you stop "presuming" as that itself is extremely dangerous - why would we make "reproving gestures"? What would that achieve other than to create road rage and inflame the situation? As it is now, he realizes that he was guilty of breaking the law and a member of the public ( who may have actually been an off duty police officer ;-) ) has admissible date stamped video evidence identifying the offence, the offender and the offending vehicle and has to wonder if and when the knock on the door will come!

  • Ste - 30/08/2016 16:03

    I think the title of this should be '50%+ of ALL drivers'! its amazing how many people are looking at phones or holding and talking on them all the time! Almost every other car I look into when passing, whether in slow traffic or at speed has a driver holding or using a phone. More and more cars you see in front of you on motorways are floating from one edge of a lane and back again because drivers are distracted. You can always tell, they drift over a bit, correct it, drift again, correct it etc, then you over take and they are texting or chatting away. Its al sorts of people too, every type, vans, lorries, cars, parents with kids, young and old, everyone is at it, it's scary. I witnessed a crash about 10 years ago, a young girls passed us travelling the other way in slow traffic, she was texting, next thing, BANG! shed gone straight into the car in front that had stopped but she didn't realise, its nuts. Something must be done about it, heavier fines, more policing, 'blockers' in cars, a zero ban on using hands on or hands free. A phone has no place in a car unless you are stationary, broken down, and you are standing next to the car to make an emergency call. Full stop, no argument.

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