General Insurance Article - Two in ten drivers still use their mobiles whilst driving

A new survey by Swinton Insurance has revealed that only 16% of drivers are using a mobile phone in their hands whilst driving a vehicle. More than half of respondents feel that they use their phones less in the car than they did two years ago.

 As we approach the two-year anniversary of the introduction of a £200 fine and six penalty points for any motorist caught on a mobile device, the research highlights that legislation appears to be having a positive impact on the nations driving behaviours. 

 In 2017, the number of fixed penalty notices served to motorists for this offence fell drastically by 34% overall. And whilst drivers stated that a driving ban (61%) and penalty points (59%) act as a deterrent to mobile phone use, the overwhelming majority (70%) say that the fear of an accident is ultimately what prohibits them from being on a mobile phone whilst driving.

 This goes some way to explaining why two thirds of motorists (66%) dont know that the penalty notice charge is £200 for driving whilst using a mobile phone.

 The survey findings can be explored in full here –
 Whilst we seem to be adopting safer driving habits, further analysis of government statistics reveal that we could still have some way to go. Whilst the total number of accidents involving mobile phone use fell by 10%, the average number of casualties per accident rose from 1.6 to 1.8 in 2017. It’s also clear that car drivers have the most mobile phone related accidents overall and that A-roads have the highest number of accidents (51%) where mobile phone use is listed as a contributory factor.

 With nearly two in ten drivers still admittedly breaking the law, the survey also unveils why we are struggling to put down our phones, even in potentially dangerous situations. Surprisingly, almost a third of motorists who admit to mobile phone use say that they just can’t resist answering calls and texts whilst driving.

 17-24-year olds are the most likely age group to hold their phone whilst driving, and 38% admit to using their phone more now than they did two years ago. Listening to music and using a mobile phone for navigation are cited as the main reasons to use a mobile whilst driving.

 The main temptations for motorists are;
 • Navigation (46%)
 • Answering calls and texts (30%)
 • To listen to music (27%)

 Interestingly, a quarter of drivers stated that they use their phone for emergencies and 22% say its because they are too impatient to wait until the end of the journey. Overall, only 30% of motorists feel that putting their mobile phone out of sight in the car would deter them from using it.

  “We’re pleased that our latest research shows that drivers appear to be more conscious of not using a mobile phone whilst driving and that the issue of safety for themselves and other motorists is becoming paramount.

 Undoubtedly, legislation is proving to be a good deterrent for drivers, with driving bans and penalty points being at the forefront of their minds. The decline in accident rates and fixed penalty notices is a trend that we hope continues.

 But it is also apparent that despite legal and safety concerns, the pull to be active on mobile devices is still too much for some drivers. With navigation serving as the main reason to use a phone, we would urge motorists to consider the purchase of a separate satellite navigation device to avoid temptation”

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