Mobile use causes concern
By: Dave Robbins
27 February 2015
Figures recently released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that, during 2014, 1.6% of all drivers in England and Scotland were spotted using a mobile phone whilst driving.
The figures also revealed that van drivers had a higher overall rate of 2.7% -- the majority of which were holding the device in their hand rather than to their ear.
The news, coming off the back of a reported increase in road deaths during 2014 has caused comment from many working towards improved driving standards and reducing road deaths. Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation said: “These figures are a worry. In 2013 the use of a mobile at the wheel was a factor in 22 fatal accidents and this is likely to be an underreporting of the true figure. Research for us shows that texting whilst driving impairs reactions more than being at the drink drive limit. The disproportionate number of van drivers using mobiles appears to highlight the time pressures many are under and their likely use of mobile devices to check pick-up and drop- off destinations.
The big concern is that with more and more technological and visual distractions in our lives and in our cars the risks will increase.”
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, added: "The results are very disappointing but not at all surprising. Campaigners routinely talk about the inherent dangers of the distraction caused by mobile phone usage, but drivers never believe they will be caught. Campaigns run by THINK! and the Department for Transport need to be revived and invigorated with stronger messages for new drivers and van users. Mobile phone usage at the wheel can kill – there’s no two ways about it.”
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