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Driving Whilst Using A Mobile Phone or No Seatbelt

Driving Whilst Using a Mobile Phone or No Seatbelt

 

The Department for Transport has announced the results of its recent surveys into the use of mobile phones and seatbelts by motorists in England (and Scotland).

 

The surveys, carried out in 2014, in some ways mirror the findings of the previous surveys, which were carried out in 2009.

 

For example, the proportion of car drivers observed using hand-held mobile phones in England in 2014 was 1.5%, whereas the figure for the 2009 was 1.4%.

 

The survey found that drivers were more likely to be observed with a mobile phone in their hand rather than holding it to their ear. In 2014, (1.1% of drivers in England and Scotland were observed holding a phone in their hand compared with 0.5% observed holding the phone to their ear.)

 

A higher proportion of drivers in England and Scotland were observed using a hand-held mobile phone when stationary (2.3 %) than in moving traffic (1.6 %).

 

And, in case you were wondering how these figures apply to male and female drivers, the survey would suggest that women drivers are more law-abiding than men. A significantly higher proportion of male drivers were observed using hand-held mobile phones than female drivers; 1.7% of male drivers in England and Scotland were observed using a hand-held mobile phone compared with 1.3% of female drivers.

 

The type of vehicle being driven also appears in the survey results. Bus, coach and minibus drivers are least likely to have been observed holding a mobile phone, at just 0.4% of drivers, whereas 2.7% of van drivers were seen holding a mobile, making this group of drivers the most frequent offenders. Goods vehicle and lorry drivers were at 1.2%, with car drivers just ahead at 1.4%.

 

As regards seat belt use, 98.2% of car drivers were observed using seat belts in England and Scotland.

 

However, seat belt wearing rates were lower for other car occupants compared to car drivers. 96.7% of all front seat passengers and 90.6% of all rear seat passengers were observed using seat belts or child restraints in England and Scotland.

 

The gender divide for the wearing of seatbelts shows that in this area, too, women drivers are more law-abiding than men. Male drivers in England and Scotland had a lower seat belt wearing rate (93.7%) than female drivers (98.2%).

 

Interestingly, there would appear to be an age-related dynamic to the wearing of seatbelts, with rates being higher for drivers aged 17-29 and aged 60 and over (96.1% and 96.5%) and seat belt wearing rates for drivers aged 30-59 lower at 94.7%.

 

For all front seat passengers in England and Scotland, the age group with the lowest restraint wearing rate was aged 14-29 (92.8%). Front seat passengers aged 0-13 (93.2%), 30-59 (94%) and 60 & over (97.3%) had higher rates.

 

For all rear seat passengers in England and Scotland, the age group with the lowest restraint wearing rate was aged 14-29 (83.7%). Rear seat passengers aged 0-4 (94.4%), 5-9 (92.3%), 10-13 (88%), 30-59 (87.8%) and 60 & over (91.6%) had higher rates.

 

So, as regards the survey figures for passengers, teenagers or young adults would appear to be less likely to wear seatbelts whether in the front or rear seats. The youngest people (below 14 years) or oldest (30 years and above) are the ones most likely to wear seatbelts.

 

In summary, according to the 2014 Seatbelt and Mobile Phone Use Surveys, most drivers do not use mobile phones whilst driving but do ‘belt up’. So although the focus of the survey is on the things drivers and passengers are doing wrong, most of us are getting it right!

 

 If you are being charged with a motoring offence, contact us now for expert advice on 01623 600645.

 

 

Driving Whilst Using A Mobile Phone To Become A Taboo

 

A police inspector has predicted that driving whilst using a mobile phone will become a taboo, following an announcement that the number of penalty notices given to drivers in Kent for this offence was the lowest it has been for 5 years.

 

Inspector Paul Sellwood said:

 

“I think mobile phone use will […] become taboo in time but we’ve got to keep pushing the message out.  There are still a sizeable number of motorists that will use their phones.”

 

The announcement revealed that a high of almost 6,000 fixed penalty fines for driving whilst using a mobile phone were handed out in 2010-2011, compared with just over 2,700 in 2012-2013.

 

The announcement comes at an interesting time, with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics analysing over eight million car crash incidents and all road fatalities in eight US states over a 3-year period.

 

Their results have shown no correlation between the number of calls being made by drivers and the number of accidents recorded, although the research only included phone calls and not text message sending or internet browsing.

 

Dr Vikram Pathania from the LSE has advised further study to look into the effects of mobile phone use generally whilst driving.

 

While it is legal to make calls using a hands-free kit, drivers should be warned that they can still be penalised if they seem to be distracted from driving because of phone use.

 

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