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Mobile Phone Use a Common Cause of Road Traffic Accidents

Survey respondents believe that mobile phone use is responsible for up to a third of road traffic accidents, according to new research from Direct Line Car Insurance.

Over the last three years more than eight million adults say they have been in a car accident (16%), which equates to 2.7 million each year on average.

Of those who have been in an accident, more than half (53%) say this was caused by the driver of the car being distracted, mainly by their phone or a passenger on their phone (32%). One in eight (12%) have been distracted because they were using an app on their phone while driving.

The research also found that almost 14 million adults (27%) in the UK think it is acceptable to check their phone while stationary, such as in a queue of traffic or when waiting at a red light. One in six (17%) think it is acceptable but only if the phone is ringing or they have received a message notification.

Given that so many accidents are caused by mobile distraction, it is unsurprising that motorists admit they keep their phones close to them while they are driving, says Direct Line. The most popular places where drivers keep their phone are in their bag (29%), in their side pocket (20%) and in the centre console (12%).

“Any form of distraction that takes the driver’s eyes away from the road is risking their safety and that of their passengers and other road users,” commented Gus Park, commercial director of motor at Direct Line. “The proposed stricter penalties for using a mobile illegally behind the wheel are a step in the right direction, but the fact that 14 million people think it is fine to use a mobile behind the wheel illegally suggests that fines and points alone may not be enough.”

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