Norfolk & Suffolk: Drivers On Mobiles

29 March 2012, 12:00

Drivers continue to put their lives at risk by chatting on their mobiles while on the road.

Road safety charity Brake say that nearly half of drivers surveyed admit to the illegal habit; putting their own and others lives at risk. The figures include chatting on mobiles, sending texts and even using Facebook while driving. Hands free kits were also included in the list of distractions Brake say can increase the risk of a devastating crash.

Brake deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend says, "Many drivers who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are using phones while driving, oblivious to the effect on your reaction times can be similar." The survey showed some surprising figures:

  •  48% of people admitted to using a mobile while driving.
  •  Just over half of these, 25%, admitted to using it at least once a week.
  •  21% of young drivers email, go online or use apps when behind the wheel.
"Phone use at the wheel can and does destroy lives, and no call or text is ever that important." says the deputy chief executive. Brake is calling for the government to change the laws around mobile phone use at the wheel, some of their requests include:
  • Banning the use of hands-free mobile phones when driving.
  • Changing the law so being caught using a mobile phone while driving results in a disqualification for a minimum of 12 months.
  • Incorporating road safety into the national curriculum to teach the next generation of drivers the dangers of using a mobile at the wheel. 

Drivers caught using their mobiles while driving face fixed penalties of at least £80 and three points on their licence. Some may even go to court and risk a maximum fine of £1000. The advice for people wanting to use their phones when behind the wheel is to pull over in a safe place before using it. Better yet, keep the phone out of sight when driving to prevent temptation until you've finished your journey.