Phone misconceptions

DESPITE high-profile government and police campaigns highlighting the dangers of using a mobile when driving, many motorists are still flouting the law and putting their lives, and those of other road users, at risk, according to a new study for Kwik Fit. It reveals that 34% of drivers are still using their mobile phone without a hands-free set.

The figures are especially alarming, says KwikFit, as the most recent government statistics show that in five years there was a 24% increase in the number of accidents in which a contributory factor was the driver being distracted by using a mobile phone.

Kwik Fit’s study revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of drivers use their satnav or GPS on their phone, while almost one in five say they take calls (19%) or read text messages (17%). One in six (16%) make calls without a hands-free set, with around one in eight (12%) sending texts. Although some drivers claim they only use their phone in an emergency, more than half a million motorists admit to making calls on almost every journey they make.

KwikFit say: ‘It is worrying that it is the youngest drivers who are the most ignorant about mobile phone rules and it is also the youngest drivers who are most likely to have experienced trouble on the road due to mobile phone use.

‘40% of 18-24 year olds have either had a collision or near miss, or got involved in an argument because somebody was using their mobile phone, more than double the figure for all drivers. Almost one in ten (8%) drivers aged 18- 24 say they have had a collision because they were distracted by their mobile phone.’