Mobile phone use behind the wheel continues to fall

Fewer drivers are using a handheld phone behind the wheel, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (DfT).
In 2017, 1.1% of drivers (equivalent to 445,000 people) were seen driving while using a mobile -- a decrease from 1.6% of drivers in the previous survey, in 2014.
If you're caught using a handheld phone while driving, you may get a fine of £200 and six penalty points on your licence. You'll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last two years.
Young people are most likely to use a phone while driving, with 4.0% of those aged between 17 and 29 taking the risk, the DfT said. Phone use among young drivers consisted of 1.4% holding a device to their ear and 2.6% holding it in their hand -- both of which are against the law.
Meanwhile, the proportion of van drivers using a handheld mobile phone while driving was twice that of car drivers, at 2.1% versus 1%.
Despite the slight improvement in the overall figures, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams warned there are still too many people ignoring the risks and using their phones behind the wheel.
"Anecdotally, we still see too many drivers either talking on their handheld phones or interacting with them. And perhaps more worryingly, our own research with drivers suggests the problem has far from gone away," he said.
Williams also suggested that, because the survey is only carried out every few years, many drivers who might have changed their ways initially when the penalty was increased may have fallen back into their old ways.
"This isn't helped by the decline in the number of roads police officers as some drivers aren't as afraid of being caught breaking motoring laws as they once were," he added.