Mobile Phone Driving Offences
New laws were introduced in March to clamp down on mobile phone use when driving, but how much of an impact have they had on drivers?
Common Mobile Phone Driving Offences
All drivers should know that using their phone while driving is not only incredibly dangerous but also illegal. What many people appear to be less aware of though, are that a range of new and stricter driving laws were introduced in March 2017 to clamp down on mobile phone use by drivers. In order to examine what impact these new laws are having on drivers, here at Peter Vardy we conducted some research into mobile driving offences across the UK.
New Mobile Phone Driving Laws
The old punishment for using your phone behind the wheel was a £100 fine and three-point penalty. This was doubled to a £200 fine and six-point penalty from 1 March 2017 onwards, meaning any new drivers caught on their phone within their first two years of passing will lose their licence.
Only hands-free access to use your phone or for dialling 999 in an emergency are legal activities when behind the wheel. The law also applies when sat stationary in traffic, whether queuing, at traffic lights and even when supervising a learner. Depending on the consequences of using a mobile when driving you can now be banned from driving and receive a maximum fine of up to £1,000.
The Worst Offenders
At Peter Vardy, we sent out a range of FOI requests regarding distracted driving offences and received data back from 13 constabularies. This was analysed alongside survey results to determine the places that have the worst offenders and what the most common mobile phone related driving offences are.
In total there were 8,747 recorded offences since March across 13 constabularies in the UK. Scotland was the worst region, accounting for 2,220 of these, with Edinburgh the worst city in the UK overall as 73% of its drivers admitted to using their phones behind the wheel. This was closely followed by London where 72% said they used their phones while driving, as did 59% of Glaswegians, 56% in Cardiff and 45% of Birmingham drivers.
The safest place for other drivers and pedestrians appears to be Southampton, where just 5% of drivers admitted to using their phones. While people in Bristol (13%), Manchester (21%) and Nottingham (25%) made up the four lowest cities for mobile phone use behind the wheel.
Top Phone Related Driving Offences
Overall, according to our surveys, 42% of the UK public admit to breaking the law by using their phones while driving. The main reasons people say they use their phone when driving are:
· Using the sat-nav: 32%
· Listening to music: 26%
· Making and receiving phone calls: 21%
· Going on social media: 12%
· Texting: 8%
Despite the new laws, many seem to be unaware that even doing some of these activities when stuck in a traffic jam is illegal. In fact, 32% of drivers say they are unknowingly breaking the law by paying at a drive-through with their phones, such as by using Apple Pay.
These findings show that even though new laws to prevent drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel have been introduced, many are still unaware of what they cover and the punishments involved.