Van drivers ‘worst phone culprits’

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Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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White Van Man is far more likely to use a mobile phone while driving than other road users, official figures have revealed.

As many as 2.7% of van drivers in England and Scotland were spotted using hand-held mobiles while behind the wheel in 2014.

This was almost twice the figure of 1.4% for car drivers observed using hand-held mobiles, with the all-driver figure for England and Scotland being 1.6%.

Based on observations from dozens of sites in England and Scotland, the Department for Transport (DfT) figures also showed:

:: 1.1% of drivers were seen holding a mobile in their hand while at the wheel and 0.5% were observed holding the phone to their ear;

:: Of the offenders, 1.7% were men and 1.3% were women;

:: Bus, coach and minibus drivers had the lowest rate of mobile phone use, with 0.4% seen using a hand-held phone while at the wheel.

The DfT also released figures today showing the results of seatbelt usage from observations at a number of sites in England and Scotland in 2014.

The statistics showed that 98.2% of car drivers were using belts. The figure for front-seat passengers was not so high – at 96.7% – while it was even lower for rear-seat passengers, of whom only 90.6% were seen belted up.

The DfT said the seatbelt-restraint wearing rate for children in rear seats had increased slowly between 1999 and 2009. But it added that the rate for England in 2014 was only 91% compared with 96% for England recorded in a similar survey in 2009.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said the mobile phone figures showed the problem was not just drivers making phone calls, but also texting and using the internet.

“We will keep further deterrent measures under consideration,” he added.

On seatbelts, he said it was “very concerning to see a decline in seatbelt use, particularly among children”.

The RAC Foundation said the figures were “a worry”, while the Institute of Advanced Motorists said they were “very disappointing”.

Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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