The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is concerned that too many drivers continue to ignore warnings about the dangers of hand-held mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt – putting countless lives in danger.
This follows the results of a major Department for Transport survey today (7 February) revealing hundreds of thousands of motorists were still ignoring seatbelt and mobile phone usage laws in 2017.
The survey found that in 2017, 1.1% of all vehicle drivers were observed using a hand-held mobile phone while driving on weekdays in Great Britain, of which 0.4% were observed holding the phone to their ear, with twice as many (0.8%) spotted holding the phone in their hand.
The worst offenders were taxi/private hire drivers (3.3%), followed by van drivers (2.1%), then car drivers (1%).
While there is good news that seatbelt wearing rates remain high with 96.5% of all vehicle drivers observed using a seatbelt on weekdays in 2017, that means 3.5% of all vehicle drivers are choosing not to wear a seatbelt which can be a matter of life and death if you are involved in a collision.
Seatbelt used varied with 93.1% of front seat passengers and 90.7% of rear seat passengers buckling up in Great Britain. For car drivers, 98.6% were observed using a seatbelt in Great Britain in 2017.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “In spite of these being small percentages, this still amounts to hundreds of thousands of people who daily flout the law and put themselves and others at risk.
“The best way of tackling this ever-present issue is to make people believe there is a high chance of being caught. This could start tomorrow if consistent guidelines on using mobile speed camera vans to enforce seatbelt and mobile phones laws were issued.”
“Currently there is no standard approach on using this high-profile resource across the UK. Making non-wearing of seatbelts an endorsable offence is also a quick win. Not only would it persuade more people to take the offence seriously, but it might tempt them to take a seatbelt awareness course. People avoid using seatbelts for a wide range of individual reasons and these views need to be challenged face-to-face.”