With drivers picking up phones more at the weekends and at night time according to data
According to data, the number of drivers spotted using their mobile phone whilst driving without a hands-free device has declined, however experts believe figures may not truly represent reality.
New Government figures suggest around half a million drivers were seen using a mobile phone without a hands-free device in 2017 – a 0.5% drop compared to figures from three years previous.
Yet despite these figures, road safety experts claim they don’t reflect what law-abiding drivers “see on a daily basis”.
The data was released by the Department for Transport (DfT) who revealed that 1.1% of motorists (around 445,000 people), were spotted on UK roads using a mobile phone whilst driving during 2017.
In Scotland alone the rate was 2.0%, much higher than 0.6% for both England and Wales.
The worst offenders were drivers aged between 17 and 29 years-old – 4.0% of this age group were caught using a phone.
As far as gender difference there wasn’t much between them, as 1.2% of males broke the law compared to 1.1% of females.
The worst offenders based on vehicle type were taxis and private hire cars, with 3.3% of drivers breaking the law. At the opposite end of the scale, HGV drivers were the ones who tended to obey the law, followed in second place by car drivers.
The number of drivers using a mobile whilst behind the wheel was greater on urban roads compared to rural areas and the offence was most likely to be committed over the weekend rather than on a weekday, occurring mostly during the evening.
The overall figure for the number of drivers breaking the law declined over three years from 1.6% in 2014 to 1.1% in 2017, however the figure from 2017 does not include Wales.
According to RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams, their own data suggests this issue has “far from gone away”, adding: “We suspect many drivers will be very sceptical of these findings as they don’t reflect what they see on a daily basis.”
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