Celebrity Lawyer, Nick Freeman
A survey carried out by road safety charity Brake found 45% of drivers admitted to making and receiving phone calls with 13% of those drivers using handheld devices despite a ban being in place for 10 years. One in three drivers admit sending and receiving text messages while 1 in 8 people admit to using apps while behind the wheel.
While hand held phone use has decreased from 36% to 13% since 2006, hands free usage has increase from 22% in 2006 to 38%. Research shows talking on a hands-free phone is just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held as the call itself is the main distraction.
It’s is currently illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road and can result in a fine, loss of licence and your insurance costs going up. While it is legal to use a handsfree device, there are organisations such as Brake who are calling for them to be included in the ban.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “It is shocking that, ten years after the ban, one in eight drivers continues to flout the law and put lives in danger by using a hand-held mobile at the wheel. Just as worrying is the widespread belief that using a hands-free kit is a safe alternative. Don’t kid yourself: it’s not.”
Shockingly three out of ten people interviewed were unaware of the dangers of talking on a mobile while driving. A study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory showed using a mobile phone while driving decreases reaction times by 50%.
Reading and writing messages is even more dangerous than using a handheld phone as a large-scale study of commercial drivers found texting at the wheel meant they were 23 times more likely to crash.
As a further deterrent to reduce dangerous driving Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, announced last year that the fine for using a handheld device while driving will rise by 50%, from £60 to £90. The number of penalty points offenders receive on their licence will remain at three.
Since the ban on using handheld devices while driving took place in 2003 there has been over one million convictions.