One-third of drivers admit using mobile phones on the road

Many drivers in the UK still use mobile phones while driving, despite tougher penalties introduced over the last two years.

93% of respondents to a survey by What Car? magazine said they had seen someone driving using a mobile in the past week, while 36% admitted breaking the law themselves – down only 6% since 2005.

LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said, "This survey confirms what anyone who regularly uses the roads in London knows well: that driving while talking on the phone illegally is commonplace."

"Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists are being needlessly put at risk every day. The police have to work harder to enforce the law, and we must all spread the message that phone-driving is as dangerous and unacceptable as drink-driving." 

Stiffer penalties for offenders
The survey results come despite increases in fixed penalties in February 2007 (doubling to £60 and adding three points to an offender's licence), and a recommendation in September 2007 that drivers convicted of dangerous driving while using a mobile could expect up to two years in jail.

Research by the Transport Research Laboratory in 2007 found that talking on a handheld mobile phone could be more dangerous than drink driving.

Many large companies also ban hands-free phone conversations during work time (these are currently legal) due to serious doubts about the safety of talking to someone using one of these supposedly safe devices.