More than half (57%) of drivers say they feel in control when using their mobile phone behind the wheel, according to a survey by Motoring.co.uk.
That’s despite behind the wheel distractions accounting for 6% of all fatal accidents.
Terry Hogan, Motoring.co.uk’s managing director, said: “We understand that mobile phone use is a huge part of our everyday lives, but it’s evident from this survey that drivers underestimate how much they are distracted by them. This may come as a worry to firms that rely on a fleet of drivers to carry out their business.
“It’s clear that better driver education is needed, as well as harsher penalties.”
The survey of almost 1,200 drivers also revealed that 43% would not hesitate to use their mobile phone while behind the wheel and almost a quarter of motorists (24%) use their mobile phones while driving at high speeds.
Hogan added: “We appreciate the honesty of the people who completed our survey and understand that many of them are safe and capable drivers.
However, a large percentage clearly aren’t understanding the dangers and we hope that these results will make motorists realise that a mobile phone is a potentially lethal weapon.”
In Britain, the Department for Transport reported in 2013 – the latest data available – that there were 2,995 collisions where distraction in the vehicle – such as using mobile phones – was listed as a contributory factor, making up three per cent of all accidents. Of these, 92 were fatal, equating to 6% of all fatal accidents (1,587).
A Government proposal – to be consulted on in 2016 – will seek to address this by increasing penalty points for using mobile phones while behind the wheel from three to four and raising the fine from £100 to £150.
- 57% of drivers admit to feeling just as “in control as normal” when using their mobile phones while driving
- 43% of motorists would not hesitate to use their mobile phone while behind the wheel
- 72% of people take the time to use their phone while stopped in traffic or at lights
- 59% of drivers use their mobile phone during normal driving
- 44% of people use their phones at low speed
- 24% use their mobile phones while travelling at high speeds on the motorway
- 15% of people admitted to answering calls directly on a hand-held phone
- 24% of drivers check SMS directly on their phone
- 16% of motorists check emails or notifications on a hand-held phone
- 31% of people see someone using a mobile phone while driving during the majority of their car journeys
- 30% of drivers feel that mobile phone usage while driving has become more prevalent over the past 12 months
- 38% think mobile phone use while driving has stayed on the same level
- 2% of people are of the opinion that mobile phone usage in the past year is much less prevalent