There are over 40 million licenced drivers in the UK. With the total population creeping towards 68 million – this means that 58% of people in the UK potentially have access to a vehicle. If we consider that in 2016 – 18.9% of the population were under 16 and therefore unable to obtain a licence, this means that nearly 3 in 4 people of legal age have a driving licence.
In a recent study by Opiniumon on behalf of MORE TH>N it was found that 84% of drivers admitted to taking their eyes off the road as a result of a distraction in the car. 28% said it lead to an accident or near miss.
According to the survey, this 28% could equate to a massive 11.4 million drivers having had an accident or near-miss as a result of an in-car distraction.
A 2019 RAC Report revealed that 51% of 17-24 year old drivers admitted to using their phone at least on occasion. This figure drops to less than 30% for the 25 to 44 age bracket and around 10% for drivers over 45.
Mobile Phone Loophole
The Department of Transport (DfT) are set to close a legal loophole that gives a more lenient penalty to drivers that are caught using their phones to take pictures or film. A driver could argue they were driving without due care and attenteion which carries a lesser penalty than the six points and £200 fine for mobile phone use.
As of March 2017 – drivers caught using their mobile phone face a penalty of six points and a £200 fine, this is up from 3 points and a £100 fine from 2013. This new points increase means anyone that has had a full-licence for less that 24 months would immeditaely lose their licence if caught, as new drivers are only allowed to receive up to six points.
The Law on Hands-free
Using a mobile hands-free is currently allowed under UK law. In August 2019 the Commons Transport Committee put forward a case for banning hands-free options. The government however said there are currently no plans to introduce a ban.
Using your phone as a Sat-nav
Using your phone as a Sat-nav is allowed provided that the phone is fixed to the widscreen or dashboard, is in clear view but not obstructing your view. The phone must setup before your journey begins and the phone must not be touched at all whilst operating the vehicle.
With approximately 7% of drivers claiming on their insurance following an accident caused by an in-car distractions. The cost to the industry is estimated to be £1.3 billion with an average claim of £472. These avoidable incidents not only put lives in danger but also increase motoring costs for all drivers.
For more information on using your mobile phone while driving – visit our previous article – The Use of Mobile Phones When Driving.