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Millions of British drivers could fall foul of new on-the-spot-fines

The survey found that a third (31%) of UK motorists have spoken on the phone without using a hands-free kit, and nearly a third (30%) admitted that they have read a text message whilst driving – offences which, under the new measures being introduced in July, will now land people with an increased fine of £100, as well as points on their licence.

It also seems that some Brits would literally be lost without their mobiles when on the road as almost a quarter of drivers (23%) confessed to using their smartphone for directions while behind the wheel.

 

UK drivers’ top five bad habits behind the wheel:

1) Eating –69%

2) Smoking –34%

3) Speaking on the phone while holding it –31%

4) Reading a text message – 30%

5) Using a smartphone for directions – 23%

 

When it comes to multitasking while motoring, the age group most likely to be distracted behind the wheel were the 25-34 year olds.

Almost half (48%) of 25-34 year olds admitted they had read and sent texts while driving, with a staggering 54% saying they had spoken on their phone in the car without using a hands-free kit. What is more, nearly one in three (32%) said that they had checked emails as they drove, with one in five (22%) confessing that they had actually written emails while behind the wheel.

Gocompare.com’s research also shows that it’s not just phones that make the 25-34 year old age group the most distracted drivers. Two-thirds (69%) said that they had eaten when driving. On a less healthy note, one in three (34%) admitted to smoking in the car.

Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, said: ‘There’s a considerable difference between bad habits behind the wheel and illegal ones. While smoking or eating on the road may just be ill-advised activities, finishing off a report, sending emails or making a call whilst driving could land you in financial and legal trouble.

‘We all feel like sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, and mobile technology means that we often end up working out of hours or on the hoof. But trying to multitask while driving is dangerous and, if you’re caught, a conviction could see you face fines, points on your licence, higher insurance premiums and even a driving ban, which could affect your employment. It’s ironic that people who can’t switch off from work face the possibility of losing their job because of it.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.