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Mobile phone drivers wouldn’t kick the habit even after causing an accident

Even causing an accident would not lead two in five drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel to change their behaviour, new research suggests.


Only six out of 10 drivers who use their mobile phone behind the wheel say they’d change their behaviour if they caused an accident.

Revealed as a number of police forces in England run week-long clampdowns on mobile phone use, the analysis for the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign found that drivers are so wedded to using their phones that only 60% of drivers said causing an accident would make them stop for good, followed by being caught or the threat of being caught by a police officer (55% and 54% respectively), knowing the victim of an accident where handheld phone use was a factor (54%), and causing a near-miss (53%).

The RAC said the findings suggest a sizeable minority of drivers still do not see anything wrong with using a handheld phone illegally because they believe they are not likely to cause an accident or be stopped by the police. This is despite the clear risk of distraction while using a handheld phone and the fact that police forces are now much more visible in their enforcement of the law on mobile phone use.

Pete Williams, spokesperson for the RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign, said: “Handheld phone use has become rooted in the behaviour of some drivers and it is going to take a herculean effort to change their mindset. No single action will achieve this and we need to educate a combination of education so drivers understand the dangers, encourage them to give the habit up, and combine this with rigorous enforcement of the law, so those breaking the law can expect to get caught.”

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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.