UK has among the highest fines in Europe for hand held mobile phone use, IAM RoadSmart finds

Posted on 26/02/18 |

The UK has some of the highest fines for using hand-held mobile phones in Europe – but even so many UK motorists remain undeterred with almost 12,000 drivers a year still being prosecuted for the offence, IAM RoadSmart has discovered.

A new survey from top German motoring organisation ADAC  shows many European countries have relatively low financial punishments for using a hand-held phone while driving – Bulgaria, Iceland, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic all have fines of under 100 Euros. Germany fines up to 100 Euros, France 135 Euros and Italy 160 Euros. At the equivalent of around 225 Euros, UK fines are only beaten by Holland (230 Euros) and just pip Spain and Denmark at 200 Euros..

In spite of the possibility of a £200 fine and six driving licence points, figures published by the Ministry of Justice show the number of offenders convicted of “using or causing others to use a handheld mobile phone while driving” stood at 11,961 for 2016 (the last year full statistics are currently available; reference 1).

Despite this level of penalty, driving while using a handheld mobile phone in the UK continues with some addicted drivers refusing to accept the risk it causes to themselves and other road users. IAM RoadSmart’s own Safety Culture Survey showed that 90% of those surveyed felt the dangers caused by people accessing social media or email messages while driving was a significant threat to their personal safety and  they felt it was an even bigger threat than drink-driving (reference 2).

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said: “Motorists need to make the connection that using a hand-held phone is a major distraction to the task of driving. There is no such thing as multi-tasking when it comes to driving – when you drive, there is nothing else you should be doing.

“Handheld mobile phone use is a top concern for British drivers and heavy fines and extra points are a key part of the government strategy to combat it. Clearly this is not enough and unless selfish drivers fear that they will be caught, far too many will continue to flout the law.

“What we want to see is a combination of effective penalties, more personal and corporate responsibility and vehicle, smartphone and social media companies working together to generate hi-tech solutions to the distractions caused by their technology.

“No call is worth risking your own or someone else’s life for.  Remember, make the glove box the phone box and put temptation out of reach,” she added.

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Reference 1:

Reference 2:

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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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