One driver an hour seen on their phone in Scotland

A poll showed men are more likely to make a phone call while driving than women. Picture: Paul Parke
A poll showed men are more likely to make a phone call while driving than women. Picture: Paul Parke
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Almost two-thirds of Scottish motorists say they witnessed at least one driver using their mobile phone at the wheel during their last hour on the road, according to a new poll.

And 97 per cent of them have told how they regularly see other drivers looking at their phones in stationary traffic.

A new RAC poll also showed men are more likely to make a phone call while driving while women more likely to send a text.

The automative services company says the findings show the need for major government-run public awareness campaigns to remind motorist of the dangers if illegally using their phones while driving.

Of the 57 per cent of motorists who saw another driver using a mobile in the last hour of driving, 13 per cent claimed they saw three drivers breaking the law and 35 per cent witnessed one or two.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Thirteen years after the introduction of the law forbidding use of a handheld phone at the wheel of a vehicle, this behaviour is far from being stamped out.

“In fact, the results suggest the problem has got worse.

“The lack of a high-profile advertising campaign similar to the ones targeting drink-drivers and speeders has not helped, nor has the decline in the number of roads police officers as there is very little fear among offenders of being caught.

“As a society we need to change drivers’ thinking to make them understand the serious consequences their decision to use their handheld phones can have.

“Using a handheld phone should be regarded as being as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.”

The study, published today saw a third of drivers admit to using their handheld phone at the wheel.

Most of them said it was to “make a short call” or to quickly check an email or text.

In age terms, the issue appears to be most prevalent in those under the age of 40 with 51 per cent of motorists claiming they most frequently see drivers of this age group on their phones either in a moving or stationary vehicle.

The current fine for using a handheld mobile phone when driving is three penalty points and a £100 fine.

The government has just carried out a consultation on raising the fine to £150 and increasing the penalty points for non-HGV drivers from three to four.

Mr Williams said: “Whilst we welcome moves to increase penalties, there has to be a similar effort put in to enforcing these laws. Worryingly, the most recent data indicates the number of fixed penalty notices issued has declined.”

The RAC also revealed most drivers seen using a handheld phone at the wheel did 
not have passengers in the vehicle.

It also found three-quarters of people think offenders are putting other people’s lives at risk and six in then say they believe those who use mobiles at the wheel are “selfish and irresponsible”.