The dangers of texting while driving are highlighted in a new hard-hitting Government Think! campaign.
Using a mobile phone at the wheel is considered the second most unacceptable driving behaviour among motorists with 93% agreeing that texting while driving is dangerous. However, 12% of all motorists admit to texting while driving.
Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, if you text while driving then you cannot be giving the road your full attention.
“The message that mobile phones and driving should not mix is getting through to the majority of drivers but some people are still needlessly risking their own lives and putting others in danger for the sake of a text or a call.
“Our message to all drivers is simple: Don’t use your mobile phone when you’re driving.”
Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving was made illegal in December 2003. Section 26 of the Road Safety Act 2006 increased the fixed penalty for drivers using a hand held phone or similar device from February 27, 2007 from £30 to £60 and three penalty points.
The same changes were made to the penalties for the offence of not being in a position to have proper control of a vehicle - a measure which can be used where a driver has been distracted by using a hands-free mobile phone.
If the police or the driver chooses to take a case to court rather than use a fixed penalty notice, the penalty on conviction is three points, discretionary disqualification and a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches).