Six in 10 drivers don’t know penalties for mobile phone use

Six in 10 drivers don’t know penalties for mobile phone use
Almost two thirds of UK drivers say they aren’t aware of the current penalties for using handheld phones at the wheel.

Despite rising numbers of fatalities linked to mobile use, an RAC survey of over 2,000 drivers found that just 36% of motorists know the punishments.

The RAC calls the figures “remarkable”, claiming there is “still much more to be done” to stop the use of phones at the wheel.

READ MORE: Mobile phone driving laws – your questions answered

Latest figures show that the number of fatal collisions caused by drivers using mobile phones is on the up, rising from 22 in 2015 to 32 collisions in 2016.

Tougher measures were introduced in March 2017 with the new penalty set at six points and a £200 fine, but over a quarter (26%) are not aware that the penalties have even changed.

In response to the survey, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “It is remarkable that such a high proportion of drivers seemingly remain unaware of the current penalties for using a handheld phone at the wheel.

“The law around handheld phone use by drivers, and the penalties associated with ignoring it, could not be clearer. Yet every year there are dozens of fatal crashes caused by motorists who have allowed themselves to be distracted by their phone.

“Some drivers have a genuine addiction to their phone, given how many are prepared to use it illegally. While it is reassuring that a good number of motorists have decided to stop doing it, there is still much more to be done.”

IN OTHER NEWS: Nine million habitual illegal handheld phone drivers refuse to quit

The RAC survey found that despite a lack of awareness of how the law has changed, almost a third (31%) of motorists believe the current rules don’t go far enough.

Nearly half (41%) of respondents think more visible enforcement of the law is key to getting drivers off their phones, while 22% support the introduction of even harsher penalties for offenders.

Around 18% of motorists believe that blocking mobile phone signal within cars is a good move, while just one in 10 think that more public awareness campaigns, such as those run by Government initiative THINK!, will be enough to curb phone usage.

For more information, check out Be Phone Smart, the RAC’s public campaign to end drivers’ addiction to using their handheld phones.