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Policing to blame for increase in use of handheld phones while driving, says RAC

Thursday 15 September 2016, By Autovolo

Policing to blame for increase in use of handheld phones while driving, says RAC

Policing to blame for increase in use of handheld phones while driving, says RAC

A lack of policing has contributed to the number of people using mobile phones while driving to reach “epidemic” levels, according to the RAC.

Results of a survey led the organisation to estimate that 11 million motorists have either made or received a call on a handheld phone while driving over the last year.

The RAC also estimates that, in the same time frame, about five million British drivers have taken pictures or videos behind the wheel.

A statement from the organisation said that a significant percentage of drivers had used mobile devices “because they knew they could get away with it”.

The survey questioned more than 1,700 British motorists, and found that 31 per cent had used their phones while driving in the past year, and almost half (49 per cent) had used their phones while in stationary traffic.

As a result, the number of drivers using their phones while driving is one of UK motorists' biggest worries. The RAC’s study found that 41 per cent of those questioned thought it was one of their four most pressing concerns.

The RAC statement blamed government cuts for contributing to the vast number of offenders. The organisation claims that the number of full-time traffic police has fallen 27 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and this appears to have led to a belief that motorists can get away with using phones behind the wheel.

The study discovered that seven per cent of those who admitted to using phones behind the wheel did so because they knew they were unlikely to be caught.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “It is alarming to see the increase in the percentage of motorists who actually admit to using a handheld device when driving.

“The fact that drivers have little or no confidence that they will be caught when breaking these laws is a likely contributor to the problem and it is sadly the case that every day most road users see other drivers brazenly using their handheld phones when in control of a vehicle – a sight which should be a thing of the past.

“With compliance on some traffic laws including the use of handheld mobile phones seemingly getting worse, the RAC calls for an end to cuts to dedicated roads policing and urges the Government and chief constables to give greater priority to enforcement of road traffic laws.”