A recent survey from YouGov has shown that as many as one in six drivers have admitted to still using their mobile phones whilst at the wheel of a vehicle.
The survey showed that 89% of this people interviewed actually know that there was some kind of penalty if they were caught using their mobile phones whilst driving. However, only 47% of people actually knew the current sentencing guidelines for the offence which are three penalty points and a £100 fine. It should be noted that if government plans come to fruition then motorists flowing the mobile phone laws may find themselves facing 4 penalty points and a £150 fine. Interestingly the government are also considering a further increase in relation to HGV drivers to 6 penalty points.
Just to crystallise the issue, it is illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving, even when the vehicle is stationary in traffic.
Some drivers go beyond making a phone call and use their mobile phones for checking their social media accounts. Out of all those drivers who are using their social media, 18% of those stated that they felt able to read and update their social media at the wheel quite safely. Furthermore, 46% of them thought that checking their social media accounts in stationary traffic was perfectly okay. It is interesting to note that 8% of the drivers polled admitted to using their mobile phones to check on their social media whilst driving and 26% of those thought that flouting the law was worth it in order to keep in touch with friends and followers.
The Head of Transport Psychology at Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) Shaun Helman said: “Any task that involves holding a device, looking at it, and interacting with it during driving will adversely affect driving performance. We recently found that between 10-30% of road accidents in the EU are at least partly caused by distraction, and social media is an increasing risk in this area.
“Obviously some people, some of the time, value their social connectivity more than they value their safety and the safety of others. It is this perspective that should be targeted.”