There is an “epidemic” of mobile phone use by drivers, says the RAC, but Welsh drivers take a serious view of the danger.
About 11 million motorists admitting to making or receiving a call while driving in the last 12 months and a shocking five million saying they have taken photos or videos while at the wheel.
Research for the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2016 has revealed that for some, attitudes towards handheld mobile use have worryingly relaxed over the last two years.
The proportion of people who feel it is acceptable to take a quick call on a handheld phone has doubled from 7% in 2014 to 14% in 2016 and the percentage of drivers who feel it is safe to check social media on their phone when in stationary traffic, either at traffic lights or in congestion, has increased from 14% in 2014 to 20% in 2016.
The percentage of drivers who said it was not acceptable to take a quick call at the wheel has correspondingly fallen 6% from 84% in 2014 to 78% today.
And it is not just attitudes that are shifting – actual behaviours are changing significantly too with the percentage of drivers who admit to having used a handheld mobile phone while driving having shot up to 31% which compares with just 8% who were prepared to admit this in 2014.
Similarly the proportion of drivers who ‘own up’ to sending a text, email or posting on social media has risen to 19% today compared to 7% just two years ago. In Wales, the percentages were much lower, almost half in fact among those who admitted to phoning while driving.
Perhaps most shocking of all is the number of drivers who admit to taking photographs and videos with their phones. A shocking 14% said they had done so while driving and 22% admitted they have done so when in stationary traffic.
The percentages rocket for younger drivers with 36% aged 17 to 24 admitting to taking photos or videos when driving and 44% when stationary and 26% of drivers aged 25 to 44 saying they take photos or video when driving and 31% when stationary in traffic.
The RAC’s 2016 Report on Motoring reveals that two-fifths (41%) of motorists rank the use of handheld phones by other drivers at the wheel as one of their top four concerns.