Nearly a fifth of drivers admit to illegal phone use – survey

Nearly one in five drivers admit to illegal phone use behind the wheel, a survey suggests.

Some 19% of respondents to a survey of 2,003 Britons commissioned by insurer Aviva said they have used a hand-held mobile when their vehicle is stationary.

It is illegal for a hand-held device to be used for most actions while a vehicle is stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

The handful of exemptions include making an emergency call or a contactless payment such as at a drive-through restaurant.

Nearly a third (32%) of those polled admitted to using their horn out of anger (32%), which is also an offence.

Other habits revealed by respondents which may also result in driving laws being broken – if they prevent someone being in full control – include driving barefoot (10%), while eating or drinking a non-alcoholic drink (34%) and while smoking or vaping (15%).

Aviva motor claims manager Martin Smith said: “With many about to start their summer holidays, our research shows that a large portion of drivers are taking dangerous risks while behind the wheel of a car.

“Not only does this increase the chance of a collision, it means that you could receive a fine and/or points on your licence which may affect how much you pay for car insurance in the future.

“No matter how tempting, it’s important that drivers remove any potential distractions in their car and make sure they are appropriately dressed for driving – which includes footwear too.

“Changing a few of your driving habits only takes a few minutes and can prevent an incident from occurring.”

Department for Transport figures show 22 people were killed and a further 148 were seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2022 in which a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

Legislation banning hand-held mobile use while driving was introduced in December 2003.

The punishment for those caught was toughened in 2017, meaning offenders now face six penalty points and a £200 fine.

– The survey of 2,003 British adults commissioned by Aviva was conducted by research company Censuswide.