500,000 drivers caught on mobile phones

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Almost two per cent of drivers in England and Scotland have been spotted on their mobile phone behind the wheel.

That equates to more than 470,000 drivers on UK roads caught in the illegal act.

But it’s not just phone calls drivers are making with 1.1 per cent of motorists caught holding their phone in their hands compared to just 0.5 per cent holding their phone to their ear.

According to the survey, carried out by the Department for Transport (DfT), more drivers were caught using their phone when in stationary traffic (2.3 per cent) compared to 1.6 per cent of drivers in moving traffic.

North of the border, drivers are more likely to be caught with their phone in their hands than English drivers, with 1.3 per cent spotted texting or playing on apps compared to one per cent in England.

English drivers are much more likely to be sighted making phone calls with 0.6 per cent compared to 0.2 per cent in Scotland.

Male drivers were more likely to be seen using mobile phones with 1.7 per cent of all male drivers in England and Scotland spotted on their phone, compared to just 1.3 per cent of female drivers.

Unsurprisingly, young riders, aged 17-29 were the most likely to be found on their mobile phone whilst driving, with 5.2 per cent spotted.

Road safety concerns

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), one of the UK’s leading road safety charities has slammed the report’s findings and urged harsher punishment for drivers caught in the act.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Tackling mobile phone usage must be a government priority for 2015. People must have the fear of being caught increased as we believe this is the only viable deterrent, but that needs an increase in visible policing.”

But Greig didn’t stop there: “Technology has caused this problem, so it should come up with a solution too. There are phones that have sensors within them which detect the motion of a car, and can then immediately shut down calling and texting functions. This should be universal.”

Motorbike owners will no doubt feel smug looking at the statistics but it’s not unheard of for riders to be caught on their mobile phone either, as you’ll see in the video below.

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