Young people more likely to use mobile phones while driving

Young people more likely to use mobile phones while driving

There are a number of facts and figures relating to how safe young drivers are on the road. The road safety charity Brake says that drivers aged 17-24 years old are at a much higher risk of crashing than older drivers, with figures from the Department for Transport showing that drivers aged 16-19 are more than twice as likely to die in a crash as drivers aged 40-49.

Dangerous driving habits

A recent study by Brake has shown that young people are also more likely to engage in some dangerous driving habits, with young drivers being more inclined to use their mobile phones whilst driving when compared with older motorists. The survey involved asking 1,000 drivers from across the UK whether they had used the phone, either hands-free or hand-held, whilst driving in the past year. If they answered yes they were then asked who they were talking to.

BBC News reported that the poll found that 49% of 17-24 year olds had used their mobile for work calls whilst driving, with 35% of young people saying they had spoken to family members whilst behind the wheel. For other age groups these numbers were considerably lower, with 17% using a mobile for work reasons and 23% for family reasons.

Hands-free and hand-held

This study asked about calls made from both hand-held and hands free devices. In 2003 using a hand-held phone while driving was made illegal, although using hands-free technology is still allowed. Drivers can however be pulled over by the police whilst making hands-free calls if the police believe that the driver is being distracted.

Brake is against the law which says that hands-free devices are OK to use, and it is campaigning for them to be banned. It says that hands-free devices are  a cause of distraction, and that the only safe way to make a call when you’re behind the wheel is to find a safe place to pull over and stop first.

Stick to the law

The law states that when you’re driving you can only use your phone if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it is unsafe to stop, or if you are safely parked. The penalty for drivers who are caught using a hand-held phone while riding or driving is an automatic fixed penalty notice, with three points on your licence and a fine of £100. In extreme cases you could be taken to court and disqualified from driving, and get a maximum fine of £1,000.

If new drivers get six or more penalty points in the first two years after passing their test they will lose their licence, so it’s important to be aware of the laws and stick to the rules of the road at all times.