Texting at the wheel - will police pick you up?

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Drivers To Face Mobile Phone Ban In England

Think you'll get away with texting at the wheel? A new RAC report claims that many Brits believe they won't be prosecuted for a spread of highly dangerous offences, because it's highly unlikely they'll be nabbed.

The attitudes will do little to give people a sense of confidence behind the wheel. The only offences that some motorists believe are policed effectively are light traffic violations and speeding. Who's right - and what are your chances?

Where are the police?

The RAC Report on Motoring 2014 claims two in five drivers (40%) believe peoplewho text at the wheel, drive aggressively or hog the middle lane are more than likely get away with it. It claims 60% of motorists surveyed believe there are insufficient police officers on the road to enforce the law.

"Our research shows that millions of law-abiding motorists are frustrated with the reduction of traffic police and believe that the chances of drivers being pulled up for breaking the law are now minimal," says RAC technical director David Bizley.

It can wait

UK motorways look increasingly dangerous places. Which is where the worst non-compliance takes place - perhaps a symptom of today's lower police presence and the fact fixed speed cameras are not used to enforce 70mph on motorways, says the RAC.

Do some hands-free devices reduce the risk? Yes, but were a driver involved in an accident while using hands-free technology, he still could be open to being charged for not being in control of the car.

Road safety campaigners Brake claim there should be a complete ban on mobile phone use when driving. Fines for texting at the wheel have now risen to £90 from £50.

Philip Goose, senior community engagement officer at Brake, says driving requires undivided attention. "All the evidence," he told AOL Money, "shows that any form of mobile phone use at the wheel is dangerous, even hands-free, as it is the distraction of the phone call itself that slows reaction times."

Last year Essex chief constable, Stephen Kavanagh, called for haulage companies to sack their drivers if they were caught texting at the wheel.

Worse than booze

A recent report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) claims a driver has a 46 per cent slower reaction time when making a call, and 37 per cent slower if texting. To put that into context, someone at the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood has a 13% slower reaction time.

Future harsher penalties look likely.