Mobile phone SHOCKER
NINE MILLION people are still driving on UK roads while using their handheld phones.
It’s a sobering discovery that will strike a cold note with every motorcyclist in the UK but an RAC survey has foun d that a gobsmacking 22% of motorists are still using their handheld phone when they drive.
The shameful findings are made all the worse by the reasons given by some of those surveyed, ranging from ‘I didn’t know it was illegal’ to ‘I do it because I can get away with it’. The report highlights the lawlessness on British roads in light of huge cuts to the numbers of traffic police over the past decade.
24% of motorists do not expect to be caught if they break motoring laws
A hard-core of motorists still admit to flouting the law by using their handheld phones while driving.
The news comes despite penalties for the offence being doubled on March 1, RAC research has found.
In September 2016 the RAC revealed that the illegal use of handheld mobile phones at the wheel had reached epidemic proportions. Days later the Government announced the penalty for the offence would increase to six points and a £200 fine in a bid to stamp out the dangerous habit.
Twelve months on, however, research carried out with 1727 motorists for the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2017 shows the move has not stopped a persistent 9.2 million drivers breaking the law on a regular basis.
While the number of motorists who say they make or receive calls illegally at the wheel has fallen by a quarter (31% in 2016 versus 23% in 2017), of those questioned about the impact of tougher penalties 15% – or 5.3 million drivers – said this had not made them stop. Of these, 2.8 million said they had not changed their habits and 2.5 million who said it had made no difference.
Of the 89% of drivers who said they were aware of the tougher penalties for mobile phone use, the report identified six in 10 (58%) – or the equivalent of 20.6 million drivers – who said they had never used their handheld mobile phone when driving. Sixteen per cent – or 5.7 million drivers – said they had completely stopped using their handheld phone altogether when driving since the law change.
A further 11% – 3.9 million drivers – said they had curbed their illegal behaviour ‘a little’ but these occasional ‘illegal handheld phone use’ drivers have not broken their habit for good. It should be pointed out that this does not include the 11% – 4.4 million of all UK drivers – who stated they were not aware of the law change so the figures for illegal phone use could in fact be higher. RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Twelve months ago our research revealed that the illegal use of handheld mobile phones by drivers was at epidemic proportions – a year on and the situation remains dire. Despite the law change and some high profile police enforcement campaigns we are in a situation where overall roads policing officer numbers are down on 2016 by a massive 30% since 2007.
“It is clear we have a hard core of offenders who believe they can get away with it by continuing to flout the law every day and we fear this may get worse with fewer dedicated roads policing officers.”