Half of drivers use phones at the wheel


Elaine Thompson/AP

Are you guilty of making a quick call or sending a text or email while driving?

Tens of thousands of us are, according to new research that found our addiction to smartphones is putting both ourselves and fellow road users at risk.

Nearly half of all drivers still talk on the phone while at the wheel - despite the known dangers and threat of even higher fines and penalty points, the survey from road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line reveals.

And of the 48% who phone and drive at the same time, two in three illegally use hand-held mobiles.

Young drivers are the worst offenders, with 44% of admitting to texting at the wheel, compared to 27% of older drivers, while 21% of young drivers email, go online or use apps, compared to 9% of older drivers.

Slow reactions
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: "Use a phone while driving and you are taking a horrendous risk with your own life and the lives of others. Many drivers who wouldn't dream of drink-driving are using phones while driving, oblivious that the effect on your reaction times can be similar.

"If you need to use your phone urgently, pull over somewhere safe first: it's as simple as that."

"We're urging people to drive smart, recognising that phone use at the wheel can and does destroy lives, and no call or text is ever that important."

Ignoring rules
Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting and pricing at Direct Line said: "Much more needs to be done to deter motorists from the dangers of using mobile phones whilst driving, as any action that involves taking your eyes off the road or your mind from the task increases your chance of a collision.

"Too many people are either still unaware that using a mobile phone can be a major distraction to their concentration while driving, or are simply ignoring the rules of the road. Mobile phones have now become such an intrinsic part of many people's lives; unfortunately they can also be a way of ending them."

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