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34% of drivers flout mobile phone laws

Date: 04 August 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

A third of motorists use their mobiles behind the wheel without a hands-free set, new research has suggested.

According to fast-fitter Kwik Fit, 34% of drivers flout the ban on handheld mobile phones despite high-profile government and police campaigns highlighting the dangers of using a mobile when driving.

Kwik Fit said the most recent government statistics show that in the past five years there has been a 24% increase in the number of accidents in which a contributory factor was the driver being distracted by a mobile phone.

Research from the firm said that 26% of drivers use their mobile as a sat-nav, while 19% said they take phone calls and 17% claimed they receive text messages.

Kwik Fit also suggested that more needs to be done to make people aware of the harsher penalties, introduced earlier this year to deter the use of handheld phones, with a survey finding that more than two in five people (43%) do not know that the penalty for using a hand-held phone while driving is six points.

The firm also said that almost half (47%) did not know that those caught using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit within two years of passing their driving test will lose their licence.

Londoners are most likely to flout the law, with nearly half (47%) saying they use a phone without a hands-free set, while Kwik Fit said the most law-abiding region is the East of England with 24% of motorists admitting to breaking the law.

"The findings of this study are very worrying indeed," said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. "While car manufacturers have made great strides in improving safety, it is vital that drivers remember that they are the most important safety feature in the vehicle."Any form of distraction can have serious consequences, as sadly, the statistics clearly show."

He added: "It is especially important for inexperienced drivers to be fully focused on what they are doing. The fact that this report has found that younger drivers have less knowledge of the rules and are more likely to take risks means more needs to be done to educate them in the very first weeks and months of driving. Kwik Fit is working with schools and colleges around the country to hold events aimed at improving the safety of those drivers who are new to the road and education on the use of mobiles is an important part of that."