Brits welcome penalty
increase for using a mobile while driving
NEW legislation doubling penalties for
using a mobile phone while driving, due to come into force on March 1, will be
welcomed by people in the UK, according to a new poll.
A Twitter poll of 2,149 people in the UK, carried out in February 2017 by
National Accident Helpline, showed that 78% were in favour of an increase in
penalties, while only 14% were against an increase. The remaining 8% said they
However, in response to the survey, many voiced their concerns that the new
penalties were still not high enough. 32% of those polled said the revised
penalties, at ₤200 and 6 licence points, ought to be even higher.
Meanwhile, the company's Google Survey of 2,000 drivers in the UK, also
conducted in February 2017, revealed that 23% admit to having used a hand held
phone while driving in the last 12 months.
The survey revealed that using a phone while driving is still a widespread
problem, in spite of recent police crackdowns and campaigning by organisations
such as Brake and the RAC.
The National Accident Helpline survey also revealed that people under 35 were
50% more likely to have used a phone while driving (30%), compared to those 35
and over (19%).
The survey asked what people were using their phones for when driving. The most
common reason was adjusting a maps app (10% of all respondents), followed by
making or receiving a call (9%), texting (8%), browsing social media (5%) and
checking or sending a work email (4%).
Respondents aged 18 to 24 were twice as likely to have checked or sent a work email
while driving (8%), compared to the average (4%).
Almost 50% more men (27%) than women (19%) admitted to having used a phone while
driving. In particular, men were twice as likely to have browsed social media
(6%) than women (3%), or to have made or received a call while driving (11%)
compared to women (7%).
The group most likely to have used a phone while driving were men aged between
25 and 34, over a ⅓ of whom (37%) admitted to having used their mobile while
driving in the last 12 months. They were 3 times more likely to have done so
than women aged 55 to 64, only one in ten of whom (10%) had committed the offence.
It is illegal to use a hand held phone while driving, even when stuck in
traffic. Drivers may only use a phone to call 999 or 112 in an emergency if it's
unsafe or impractical to stop, or if safely parked.
From March 1 2017, penalties for using a mobile phone while driving will
increase from a ₤100 fine to ₤200, and from 3 licence points to 6.
The National Accident Helpline studies were carried out to build on research
from their Accident Awareness Week campaign in November, which highlighted the
dangers of being distracted while out and about.
According the Accident Awareness Week research, 46% of Brits have put themselves
in danger because they've been distracted whilst walking or driving.
The awareness campaign also uncovered the top tech-related reasons for people
being distracted, including texting, talking on the phone and using a maps app.
Simon Trott, Managing Director of National Accident Helpline, said:- "Our
Accident Awareness Week campaign highlighted just how much we're being
distracted by technology when out and about. With the new legislation
about to increase penalties for using a hand held phone while driving, we wanted
to highlight how much people in the UK are being distracted by technology while
driving. We know that this is one of the main causes of accidents on the
road, and we welcome any change in the law that improves road safety. We hope
the increase in penalties will help to deter drivers from being tempted to use
their phones at the wheel."
To read more about National Accident Helpline's research on the dangers of being
distracted while out and about, visit the Accident Awareness
For information about road accidents, including the main causes of road
accidents and what you should do immediately after an accident happens, visit
National Accident Helpline's road accident advice page.
In October 2016, National Accident Helpline commissioned a survey of more than
2,000 people in the UK to learn more about the modern day distractions that can
put our safety at risk when out and about.
Everyday tech dangers driving Brits to distraction....
► 46% of Brits have put themselves in danger
because they've been distracted whilst walking or driving.
► 25% of 16 to 24 year olds say having a smart phone has made them less careful on
► 1 in 8 Brits think they are more easily distracted as an adult than they were
as a child.
► 20% of 16 to 24 year olds say they are more easily distracted.
► 20% of Brits have walked into someone or something because they were looking
at their phone while walking.
► 25% of Brits said texting and using WhatsApp was the most likely cause of
► 49% of 16 to 24 year olds said texting and using WhatsApp was the most likely
cause of distraction.