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Survey Finds Lack of Awareness of Penalties for Illegal Mobile Phone Use

A new study by the RAC has found that more than a year on from the introduction of tougher penalties for using a handheld phone at the wheel, nearly two-thirds of drivers (64%) remain unaware what the consequences of breaking the 15 year-old law are. 

According to the study, 36% of motorists surveyed could correctly state that the current penalties are six points and a £200 fine for using a handheld mobile phone while driving. A quarter (26%) were not aware the penalties became more severe in March 2017.

The research also looked at the reasons drivers gave for either continuing to use a handheld phone while driving.

Of those who persist in using a handheld phone an overwhelming majority (87%) said it is something they do when they are on their own and not when others are in the car with them. There could be a variety of reasons for this: from these drivers not wanting friends and family to know they do it, through to the phone being company on their journey, or even to alleviate boredom.

“Despite extensive publicity and awareness-raising campaigns run at both a local and national level, it is remarkable that such a high proportion of drivers seemingly remain unaware of the current penalties for using a handheld phone at the wheel,” commented RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams.

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