Number of motorists using phones while driving still high

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While there’s still a large number not wearing seatbelts.

Too many drivers are continuing to ignore warnings about the dangers of using a phone while driving or driving without a seatbelt according to the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.

A major Department for Transport survey released this week showed that hundreds of thousands of motorists were still ignoring seatbelt and mobile phone usage laws in 2017.

The survey showed that in 2017, more than one percent of all drivers were seen using a phone while driving on weekdays, with 0.4 of those seen driving with the phone to their ear and double that holding a phone in their hand. Taxi and private hire drivers were the worst offenders, making up 3.3 percent of the total offenders, followed by van drivers (2.1 percent) and car drivers (one percent).

Man talking on the phone while driving his car

Seatbelt wearing remains high according to the survey, with 96.5 percent of all vehicle drivers observed using a seatbelt on weekdays in 2017. It’s a high number but it also highlights the worrying statistic that there was still 3.5 percent of drivers not wearing their seatbelts.

Of those observed to be wearing their seatbelts, 93.1 percent of front seat passengers and 90.7 percent of rear seat passengers buckled up in Great Britain, and 98.6 percent of all car drivers observed using a seatbelt in Great Britain in 2017.

Man fastening the seatbelt in his car

“In spite of these being small percentages, this still amounts to hundreds of thousands of people who daily flout the law and put themselves and others at risk,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research.

“The best way of tackling this ever-present issue is to make people believe there is a high chance of being caught. This could start tomorrow if consistent guidelines on using mobile speed camera vans to enforce seatbelt and mobile phones laws were issued.”

Driver fastening seat belt

“Currently there is no standard approach on using this high-profile resource across the UK. Making non-wearing of seatbelts an endorsable offence is also a quick win. Not only would it persuade more people to take the offence seriously, but it might tempt them to take a seatbelt awareness course. People avoid using seatbelts for a wide range of individual reasons and these views need to be challenged face-to-face.”

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