A survey conducted for the RAC has revealed that 8% of drivers in the UK admit to taking part in video calls while behind the wheel. Among drivers aged 17-24 years that figure increases to 18%.
The RAC Report on Motoring 2020 also found that 29% of all drivers say they make and receive calls on handheld devices while driving. That’s a 5% increase from the previous year.
In 2016, the RAC reported that the illegal use of phones by drivers was at ‘epidemic levels’. Yet, despite harsher penalties, motorists have failed to change their behaviour.
Now the public are keen for this problem to be addressed.
According to the RAC’s research, 79% of drivers questioned said they would support the use of camera technology to identify illegal phone use (with 52% strongly in favour).
Speaking about the report, RAC road safety spokesperson Simon Williams said: “It’s significant that motorists are united in their desire to see camera-based technology, like that already in use in other countries, introduced on our roads to catch drivers who risk everyone’s safety by breaking the law in this way.”
He continued: “If the behaviour of those who continue to think it’s safe to use a handheld phone while driving upwards of a tonne of metal is ever going to change, they need to believe there’s a reasonable chance of being caught.”
As well as the popularity of video calling via WhatsApp and Snapchat, gaming behind the wheel is also a growing concern. 9% of drivers aged 17-24 years admit to playing games on their phones while driving.
UK road safety charity Brake is calling for a total ban on the use of all phones (including hands-free) while driving. This, it says, would give clarity around the law and reduce this illegal and reckless behaviour.
If there was an outward-facing camera in your cab, how many drivers would it spot a day using their phones behind the wheel?