Cellphones: If you think SA is bad, try these places…

  •  Cell-related UK crashes increase by 24% in five years
  •  Millions of drivers don’t know cellphone rules
  • Just get a darn hands-free system, stupid!

LONDON, England – Despite high-profile state and police campaigns highlighting the danger of using a cellphone when driving many drivers continue to risk their and strangers’ lives by taking that call.

Or worse, and utterly stupid, making one while on the move.

A study done for for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, has show more than a third (34%) of drivers still using their mobile without a hands-free kit. And, heck, installation is not a great expense.


Or, The Corner suggests, go even cheaper and wear an attachable headset.

The most recent UK government statistics show a 24% increase in crashes caused at least in part by one or perhaps even both parties using a cellphone at the time.

Kwik Fit’s study revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of drivers use the satnav or GPS on their phone; almost one in five (19%) take calls or read text messages (17%).

One in six (16%) make calls without a hands-free kit and about about one in eight (12%) send texts.

Some drivers claim they only use their phone in an emergency but more than a half-million admit making calls on almost every journey.

Four months on from the UK’s introduction of tougher penalties for using a cellphone many drivers remain unaware of the laws – and penalties. More than two in five are unaware of the serious six licence demerit points.


Sharper focus on inexperienced drivers has also passed by many – only 47% of Brits know such drivers caught taking a call in their first two driving years will lose their licence.

The younger the driver, the more ignorance about the rules. Drivers aged 18-24 are nearly three times more likely than the average driver to believe it’s legal to use your phone while stopped at traffic lights; twice as many believe it is legal to take an incoming call – or their phone in slow traffic.

About 40% of drivers aged 18 to 24 have had a crash or near- miss. Almost one in 10 (8%) drivers in the same age group admit crashing while on a call. Another 8% saying they had come close. This compares with two or three percent for all drivers.

While many of these collisions may be minor bumps with no injury, government data reveals that there has been a large increase in serious accidents where a contributory factor was cellphone use. The number of UK crashes involving death or serious injury grew by 25% between 2011 and 2015 – the most recent data.

Flouting the law is most common in London: nearly half of drivers (47%) do so. Most law-abiding is eastern England (see graphic).

READ MORE cellphone features on Carman’s Corner

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