Double standards? 52% of motorists call for harsher mobile phone penalties yet many admit to doing it themselves

Published on 18 January 2016 by Gill

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Filed under Category: Campaigning

As the Government announces plans for increased penalties for those using handheld mobile phones while driving, a survey reveals the growing frustration of UK motorists towards careless driving habits.

You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you’re caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding. You’ll get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100.

Your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

Nearly 90% of motorists who responded to the survey, carried out by second hand vehicle site BCA, said the use of a handheld mobile device while driving was ‘very distracting’, with 95% claiming to have personally witnessed another motorist doing so. And over half (52%) of those surveyed believed that penalties for using a handheld mobile device should be more severe.

However, the BCA data also revealed that there appears to be a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, with 42% of motorists admitting to having spoken on a handheld mobile device themselves while driving.

More than a quarter (27%) admitted to texting while behind the wheel; 13% have taken a photo and 6% admitted to accessing social media whilst driving.

“The interesting thing about this study is that, whilst almost everybody was happy to vent their indignation at other drivers’ carelessness, a large number also owned-up to the very things that concerned them”, explained Tim Naylor, Editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report.

“But it is clear from our research that there is a groundswell of support for stronger penalties for using a hand-held mobile while driving – whether talking, texting or accessing social media.”