Fleet Drivers ‘Twice As Likely’ To Use Mobile Phones While Driving
New data has revealed that fleet drivers are TWICE as likely to use a mobile phone while driving.
The Department for Transport (DfT) study found that the proportion of van drivers observed using a mobile device while operating a vehicle was double the average driver.
A roadside survey carried out by the DfT found:
- 1% of drivers were observed using their mobile phone while driving
- 9% of van drivers were observed using a mobile phone while driving
- 2% of HGV drivers were observed using a mobile phone while driving
The figures represent an increase in the proportion of drivers using handheld mobile devices at the wheel since the previous survey was conducted in 2017.
It’s particularly surprising after the new mobile phone driving laws were introduced earlier this year, as an increase in penalties and awareness usually sees a corresponding drop in offences.
What Are The New Mobile Phone Driving Laws?
New laws were introduced in March 2022 that means it’s illegal to use a mobile phone behind the wheel for any reason, including taking videos and photos, playing games or choosing music playlists.
Any driver caught using a mobile device while driving faces a maximum fine of £1,000 and six points on their licence, with the punishment even being able to extend to a driving ban.
Research earlier this year found that many drivers aren’t aware of the changes to the law, with 42% not aware that legislation had changed around mobile phone use while driving.
Drivers are allowed to make contactless payments at drive-throughs and toll booths, though - and you’ll still be able to use a mobile device as long as it’s hands-free.
That means a device can be used as a sat-nav or to play playlists, so long as it’s set up before driving and then only used hands-free.
What Does It Mean For Road Safety?
Mobile phone use while driving has been one of the biggest safety concerns for authorities in the last 20 years.
As technology has developed, we’ve all become more accustomed to using our phones more regularly. That dependency means many people use phones for navigation, communication, work, and everything that they might previously have used a separate device for.
There’s a clear age split when it comes to mobile phone use while driving with those aged 17-29 being much more likely to do so than those aged 60+.
There are calls for the government and highway agencies to consider implementing more strategic camera enforcement technology to capture those committing driving offences such as using mobile phones while driving.
Rather than increasing the penalties for committing offences, simply putting more enforcement in place in a similar way to the strategic increase in the number of speed cameras on the UK’s motorway network could have a significant impact.
What do you think of the current mobile phone driving laws – are they strict enough? Could more be done by the government to clamp down on offences? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org