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25 April 2017, 06:34
One in six motorists admit to illegally using their phone while driving despite tougher punishments being introduced last month, a study has found.
Penalties and fines for illegal phone use doubled to six points and £200 respectively on March 1.
But a poll of 1,500 UK drivers commissioned by Co-op Insurance found that 16% admit to using a hand-held mobile behind the wheel during the past month.
Around a fifth (18%) of offenders said they were responding to work emails, while 23% were checking Facebook.
James Hillon, head of products at Co-op Insurance, said: "We've welcomed the penalty change as we believe that anything that may lead to safer roads and thus communities in the UK can only be a good thing.
"However, it's still concerning that since the law change on 1st March, a sixth of drivers have used their phones whilst driving.
"Using a mobile phone whilst driving can seriously impact a motorist's ability to drive safely, so we'd strongly advise drivers to lock their phones away in glove compartments when driving.''
Twenty-two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads in 2015 where a motorist using a mobile was a contributory factor, latest figures show.
Mike Bristow, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: "We've seen first-hand the devastation caused by people who kill and seriously injure because they couldn't wait a few more moments to make a phone call or respond to a text.
"For that reason, we would urge all drivers to ignore their phones when driving.''