A new report by Brake has revealed the in-vehicle distractions that are putting road users are serious risk.
The road safety charity’s findings regarding in-vehicle distractions – compiled in partnership with Direct Line – has revealed 3% of drivers either had a conversation or sent messages on a hand-held mobile device while driving on every journey they took over the past 12 months.
This equates to a staggering 1.2 million drivers across the UK; elsewhere, the report found that 16% of UK licence holders – or 6.6 million people – broke the law by using their phone while driving at some point over the past year.
The penalty for use of a phone at the wheel increased in March 2017 to a fine of £200 and six penalty points, but this doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.
So much so that Brake has called on the government to tackle these in-vehicle distractions and in particular, the use of mobile phones while driving.
The charity wants to see “urgent focus” on improving enforcement, as well as a consultation on extending the ban on hand-held mobile phone use to also include hands-free.
Joshua Harris is the Director of Campaigns at Brake. He said: “When you’re behind the wheel, it only takes a moment’s distraction to cause devastation.
“This report reveals the shocking extent of the distraction on our roads with over a million drivers admitting to using their phones behind the wheel on every journey.
“We need the government to take note of these findings and act to tackle in-vehicle distraction now.
“It’s positive to see drivers themselves acknowledging the increasing issue of distraction on the roads and that they give their backing to calls for the government to tackle this issue.
“As a first step, we want the government to consult on the use of hands-free phones behind the wheel, with the evidence clearly pointing towards the need for a ban.”