Sixth of UK motorists used phones whilst driving in the last month despite new laws

25 April 2017

  • A sixth (16%) of UK drivers admit they’ve used their phones when driving since the law change last month
  • 71% made phone calls whilst 27% sent texts to friends and family members
  • 16% of drivers say they weren’t aware of the law changes

A sixth (16%) of UK motorists have admitted to using their phones whilst driving in the last month, despite the new law which came into force on 1st March, detailing that motorists caught using their phones at the wheel could now be given six points and a £200 fine.

The study, which was conducted among UK drivers on behalf of Co-op Insurance reveals why drivers are using their phones, with almost three quarters (71%) making phone calls, over a quarter (27%) texting friends or family and over a fifth (23%) scrolling through Facebook.

Furthermore, a fifth (18%) of those motorists who admitted to using their phones at the wheel since the law change say it’s in response to work emails. A fifth (17%) snapchat whilst driving and over a tenth (14%) say they kill time scrolling through Instagram.

What do drivers use their phone for behind the wheel?

| Action | % of drivers who admit the action | | ---------- | ---------- | ---------- | | To make a phone call | 71% | | Texting a friend of family member | 27% | | Facebook | 23% | | Sending work emails | 18% | | Snapchat | 17% | | Twitter | 16% | | Scrolling through Instagram | 14% | | Sending a Whatsapp Message | 13% |

When delving into the road conditions that drive motorists to take to their phones, a tenth (11%) say it’s whilst they’re stuck in traffic, a tenth (11%) say they look at their phones at traffic lights and a further tenth (10%) say they do so when stationary on motorways.

Road conditions UK drivers are using their phones

|Condition | % of drivers who admit this | | ---------- | ---------- | ---------- | | Stuck in Traffic | 11% | | At traffic lights | 11% | | Stationary on a motorway | 10% | | Quieter roads | 7% | | Country lanes | 5% |

The study also reveals that a fifth (16%) of UK motorists weren’t aware that the law regarding using mobile phones whilst driving changed on 1st March.

This proves true as one in ten (11%) of drivers say they use their phones when driving just as frequently as they did prior to the law change and just 6% have used their phones less since the law changed.

Furthermore, a fifth (18%) of UK drivers say since the 1st March they’ve been in the passenger seat and witnessed a driver use their mobile phone at the wheel.

James Hillon, Head of Products at Co-op Insurance, said:

“At the Co-op we’re committed to making the UK’s roads as safe as they can possibly be. We’ve welcomed the penalty change as we believe that anything that may lead to safer roads and thus communities in the UK can only be a good thing.

“However it’s still concerning that since the law change on 1st March, a sixth of drivers have used their phones whilst driving. Using a mobile phone whilst driving can seriously impact a motorist’s ability to drive safely, so we’d strongly advise drivers to lock their phones away in glove compartments when driving.”

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake commented:

“Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity, so it requires full concentration at all times and therefore, mobile phones should not be used at all.

“We’ve seen first-hand the devastation caused by people who kill and seriously injure because they couldn’t wait a few more moments to make a phone call or respond to a text. For that reason, we would urge all drivers to ignore their phones when driving.”

Media Contact

Rosie Bierley
Co-op Press Office
Mobile: 07980733251
Email: rosie.brierley@coop.co.uk

Emily Penkett
Press and Media Relations Manager
Email: Emily.penkett@coop.co.uk
Mobile: 07738621201
Follow us: @coopukpress

About Co-op Insurance

Co-op Insurance is a UK-based general insurer that operates principally within the personal lines segments of the motor and home insurance markets. The Co‑op Insurance underwrites the majority of business written, supplemented with some small lines of business where The Co‑op Insurance acts as a distributor or has a 100% reinsurance arrangement in place.

With more than 1.18m customers, The Co‑op Insurance is committed to ’Doing the Right Thing’ and always strives to treat customers and members fairly. The Co‑op Insurance pioneered the way in lowering the insurance premiums of young drivers as the first major insurer to launch a pay how you drive telematics insurance product for young drivers in 2011. Since launching the scheme, The Co‑op Insurance has saved its young drivers more than £7.2 million in their first year of driving.