More motorists 'are using mobiles'

Almost half of drivers are illegally using their mobiles behind the wheel, research has shown.

Halfords has revealed that, despite tougher sanctions for phone use on the roads being introduced five years ago, many motorists are still making calls, texting and even browsing social networks while driving.

A quarter of respondents confessed that they commit the offence at least once a month, while results showed men tend to be the worst offenders (67%) and under 25s are the most likely to use Facebook and Twitter.

Police figures have revealed that there were more than 171,000 fixed penalty notices issued during the 12 months up to October for the offence. Meanwhile, Home Office statistics also show that a further 35,000 cases led to fines by magistrates.

This data shows that it is the fifth most common traffic crime.

Further examination of the poll and official statistics points to this being a growing problem, as 10% more people admitted to using a phone while driving in this study than during a similar survey last year.

Currently, a £60 fine and three penalty points can apply to any drivers caught using their phones, but the Government is considering whether to raise this to £100.

Copyright Press Association 2012