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Almost half of UK drivers still use phone at the wheel despite tougher penalties

Almost half of UK drivers still use phone at the wheel despite tougher penalties

Research by The Car People has found that almost half (49%) of UK drivers admit to being distracted behind the wheel of their cars because of mobile phones despite tougher new laws brought in a year ago.

The survey by the used car supermarket asked 1,500 drivers exactly what distracts them when behind the wheel and how it impacts on their driving.

It found that getting a phone call (31%), receiving a new message notification (21%) and using their phone for directions (20%) were the most common distractions across the general population, with changing music putting off 26% of 18-24-year-old drivers.

Ryan Robbins, senior human factors researcher at TRL, who conducted the driving simulation said: “It is difficult to do two things at once well, but when one of those things is driving it is virtually impossible. Driving is a demanding task that can suddenly require all of a driver’s attention when a hazard arises.

"A driver who has been distracted will be slower to anticipate and react to hazards on the road, and that delay can prove fatal. Most of us drastically overestimate how well we can drive, even when we are concentrating fully, and the evidence is clear that when we are distracted our driving is considerably worse."