Drivers who pick up their phone are twice as likely to crash as drink drivers

Despite it being an offence in the UK, in 2021, 1% of UK drivers were spotted using their mobiles on weekdays while on the road and it’s likely that the true figures are significantly higher. We take a look at the stats surrounding drivers who use their mobiles while operating a vehicle. 

Who are the biggest culprits?

Among all drivers, it was found that the highest proportion of people observed using a mobile while driving were aged between 17 and 29. In terms of sex, a higher proportion of male drivers (1.2%) were observed using a hand-held mobile phone while driving than female drivers (0.8%). Van drivers have also been put under the spotlight, with the proportion of heavy goods lorry drivers using their phones on the road almost double that of car drivers, at 1.9%. 

Drivers were also found to be more likely to use mobiles while driving on rural roads (1.3% of drivers) rather than motorways (0.8%).

It’s not all doom and gloom though, while in 2021, there were 6,200 prosecutions for ‘using or causing others to use a handheld mobile phone whilst driving’, this number is significantly less than the 31,400 in 2011.

What are the risks? 

In a recent Government report, it was found that in 2020, 17 people were killed and 499 injured in road traffic collisions in Great Britain where the driver was using a mobile phone – but these stats have continued to climb as during this period there were fewer vehicles on the road due to covid. 

Road safety charity, Break, found that those using their phones while driving were four times more likely to be in an accident and twice as likely to crash compared to drink driving. Even after a driver has stopped looking at their phone, their attention will remain impaired for a short time after. 

Are there any exceptions? 

There are a few exceptional circumstances where you will be able to use your phone legally while in your vehicle with the engine on. These include: 

  • If you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop
  • If you’re safely parked
  • If you’re making a contactless payment in a vehicle that is not moving, for example at a drive-through restaurant
  • If you’re using the device to park your vehicle remotely

Does using your phone while driving affect your insurance? 

If you are caught driving with your mobile in hand, you will be issued an immediate fine of £200, 6 points on your licence, and for those who passed their test less than 2 years ago, you will lose your licence. 

Your insurance will remain valid despite having been caught using your mobile while driving but upon renewal, your insurance premium may increase by up to 40% and this increase has the potential to last for five years. Some insurers may refuse to provide cover entirely.  

Need Car Insurance? 

Want to know more about other factors that can affect your Car Insurance? Or do you need to insure a high-value or specialist vehicle? To find out more about how the Chartered brokers at Hine can help you get the right deal (and why price comparison sites aren’t always the answer), call us on 0161 438 0000.

Paul Hine
Paul Hine

Hi there! I'm Paul, I'm the principal of Hine Insurance and a Chartered Insurance Broker with over 30 years insurance experience.

I'm also an armchair Manchester City fan, mediocre at tennis and a Peloton fanatic.

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