A shocking one out of six motorists have admitted that they have taken or made a call without the use of handsfree systems or devices according to recent figures revealled from a YouGov poll.
The poll was commissioned by Simpson Millar LLP, a legal firm. They found that nearly 90% of adults are aware that there is some form of penalty for the use of a mobile phone at the wheel, but less than half actually know the current penalty. The DVLA states that it is currently illegal for anyone to use any sort of hand held mobile device while they are driving, even if the car is stationary in waiting traffic
Motorists will find themselves facing three penalty points on their licence and a fine of £100 if they are found to be using a mobile device at the wheel.
There is a large majority of motorists who still dispute the law, with 18% of those who have admitted to using social media at the wheel saying that they agree that they are able to check or update their social media feed and drive safely at the same time. nearly half of them also believe that accessing and using social media doesn’t cause a problem if they are sat waiting in stationary traffic.
Less than 10% of adult will actually admit they have used social media on their phones whilst behind the wheels and 26% of those say that the desire to keep in contact with people is one of the key reasons they have disregarded the law.
the head of transport psychology at Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Shaun Helman, said “Any task that involves holding a device, looking at it, and interacting with it during driving will adversely affect driving performance. We recently found that between 10-30% of road accidents in the EU are at least partly caused by distraction, and social media is an increasing risk in this area. Obviously some people, some of the time, value their social connectivity more than they value their safety and the safety of others. It is this perspective that should be targeted.”
If the latest government plans get approved, the offending motorists will find themselves facing four penalty points and a fine fo £150. For HGV drivers, it will be 6 points. The majority of first time offenders will still have the opportunity to do a Driver Awareness course to alter their behaviour.
Mr Helman added “A combination of education and enforcement is required to change drivers’ understanding of not only the risks involved, but the social unacceptability of being distracted at the wheel”
The head of motoring offences at Simpson Miller, Julie Robertson, also said “Whilst social media has become a large part of our everyday lives, it is important for drivers not to engage in social media activities or use their telephone whilst driving due to the dangers this can cause. Drivers must educate themselves of the dangers of distracted driving, but also be aware of their legal rights when they do find themselves in trouble.”