Phone use still

drivers' worst habit

Woman driver using phone

DRIVERS using mobile phones is the most annoying habit among motorists when out on the road, according to a new survey.

The study for tyre company Kwik Fit found that other motorists using a mobile phone handset to talk, text or use social media topped the five most annoying habits for 56 per cent of drivers.

This is more than tailgating at 50 per cent, failing to indicate at 49 per cent and dangerous overtaking (38 per cent).

The data was revealed as the government begins a review into the existing law on mobile phone use when driving, in order to close loopholes which some motorists have used to escape prosecution.

The fact that people view other drivers' use of mobiles as their biggest motoring annoyance clearly indicates the widespread nature of the problem.

However, there has been a national decrease in the number of motorists receiving penalty points for using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

New figures obtained by Kwik Fit through a Freedom of Information request show that the number of drivers committing a CU80 offence, defined as a ‘breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone', fell by 19 per cent nationally between 2017 and 2018.

But Kwik Fit's analysis of the DVLA data reveals some stark differences in the trends across the regions.

The biggest percentage drop was in London, where the number of drivers convicted fell by 32.3 per cent, followed by the South East and the North West, which saw decreases of 22.5 per cent and 18.9 per cent respectively.

In contrast to the national trend, in Yorkshire the number of drivers receiving penalty points for committing a CU80 offence jumped by 22 per cent between 2017 and 2018, with rises of eight per cent in the North East and 5.7 per cent in the East Midlands over the same period.

More than 1,900 Yorkshire drivers received penalty points for a CU80 offence last year, with big increases in the neighbouring areas of Leeds (a 60 per cent rise), Bradford (52 per cent), Wakefield (77 per cent) and Kirklees - the borough around Huddersfield - by 82 per cent.

This area is covered by West Yorkshire Police, which has used techniques such as spotting drivers from the top deck of double decker buses or using an unmarked HGV to give a vantage point to look down into vehicles.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said:"The research clearly shows that actions of other drivers which annoy us the most are those which put people's safety at risk on the road.

"There is no excuse for using a handheld mobile phone when driving, whether it's for a call, texting or checking social media. The fact that the number of drivers receiving penalty points for using a mobile when driving has fallen should not make us complacent, and if the government does change the law to close loopholes we are likely to see those figures rocket back up again, especially if police forces continue to use innovative techniques to catch drivers breaking the law.

"It's vital for road safety that we make using the phone when driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. Until we have fully autonomous vehicles, anything which diverts a driver's attention from the road is a risk to their safety and those of the road users around them."

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