A survey has revealed the worrying extent of drivers’ mobile phone use as motorists across the country paint their thumbs red to highlight the problem.
Today (May 11) is ‘MyRed Thumb Day’, a campaign to encourage people to think twice before using their mobile while driving.
Meanwhile a law firm has found that more then half (55%) of people in Lancaster who have used their phone while driving have done so travelling at speeds between 11-40mph.
Eight million UK drivers are still using their mobile phone while driving, the study has shown.
Drivers across the country will be painting their thumbnails red in support of MyRed Thumb Day.
Despite the majority of people in Lancaster (90%) knowing its illegal to use their phone while driving, people admitted to texting, surfing the net and checking social media at the wheel – some even use dating apps or make an online purchase.
Almost a fifth (17%) of the town’s drivers keep their phone somewhere easily accessible in the car, such as next to the handbrake, while more than half (56%) leave their device in their pocket or handbag – only 14% keep it safely out of reach, such as on the back seat.
One in three (34%) people in Lancaster see another driver using their phone every day and most (81%) are bothered by this – nearly a fifth (19%) go as far as to react, such as shouting, beeping, or gesturing.
Reassuringly though, almost everyone in the area (97%) would like a zero tolerance approach to be implemented.
The survey was commissioned by law firm Michael Jefferies Solicitors.
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “Research has firmly established that using a mobile phone while driving adversely affects driver performance and increases the risk of crashing. Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free, are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them, fail to maintain proper lane position and react more slowly, taking longer to stop.
“Using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of crashing, and injuring or killing innocent people. Sadly, as this survey shows, many people still use a mobile phone behind the wheel despite it being illegal and dangerous to do so. They don’t seem to consider the consequences of what could happen.”
The annual campaign, which originated in Devon, highlights the dangers of driving and riding while using mobile phones.