One million people caught driving using a mobile

31 December 2013

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information rules show that one million motorists have been caught illegally using a handheld mobile phone while driving since the legislation banning the same was introduced in 2003. 

A survey has established that 1 in 3 motorists admits still using a phone whilst driving, while 18% say that despite the law they still feel that it is acceptable to do so.  Apparently most drivers who admit using a handheld mobile did so to answer calls or texts.  However, a quarter did so to read emails, 30% to check directions and 14% to log onto social networking sites. 

The figures obtained show that in London alone just under 200,000 motorists have been caught using a handheld device in the last 9 years. 

This year so far 21,931 drivers have been issued with a fixed penalty notice in London.  The total figure for 2011 was 33,384. 

Despite the commonly held perception by those who use their handheld device whilst driving that it does not affect their ability to drive or concentrate, another study in four British cities found that motorists holding mobiles were twice as likely to drive in an erratic manner manoeuvring recklessly, speeding and braking suddenly.  Perhaps even more worryingly, 1 in 3 drivers spotted using handheld device failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing.

The poll carried out by ICM was on behalf of the insurance firm LV.  The managing director John O'Roarke said that "after nearly 10 years it's worrying that drivers are still using devices at the wheel".

Bernard Hogan-Hale, the Commissioner for Metropolitan Police says that he believes that the current punishment of 3 penalty points and a £60 fine is not a sufficient deterrent.  His suggestion is that it should be increased to 6 points which would mean that drivers were at risk of being banned if they were caught twice in a 3 year period.

Points remain effective on your licence for 3 years and if a person accumulates 12 points on their licence at one time then they are liable to be banned from driving.  The period of any ban would depend on the offences committed. 

The above is not legal advice, it is intended to provide information of general interest in current legal issues.