‘Driver attitudes have to change’

A global survey has found that three quarters of drivers use their phones behind the wheel, either to text, call, or go on social media.

This is according to LeasePlan, one of the world’s largest vehicle management groups.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that a driver impaired or distracted by their phone was a contributory factor in 492 accidents in Britain in 2014, including 21 that were fatal.

However, out of the 17 countries and nearly 5,000 motorists questioned in LeasePlan’s MobilityMonitor survey, motorists in the UK appear to be more aware of the dangers of driver distractions. British drivers are least likely to use their mobile for social media behind the wheel (three per cent), compared to over one-fifth (22%) of motorists in the Netherlands who ranked the highest, followed by Hungary (14%).

Motorists in the UK are also the third least likely in the world – behind the USA (34%) and India (36%) – to use their phone for making calls whilst driving (43%), compared to Denmark (90%) who ranked the highest, closely followed by Sweden (89%) and Norway (88%).

Globally, Generation-X drivers appear to see less danger in multitasking whilst driving, as over one-fifth (21%) admit to sending a text or message at the wheel, in comparison to just 10% of Baby-boomers who claim to doing the same.

Additional results from LeasePlan’s global MobilityMonitor Survey reveal that over one-third (35%) of drivers admit to eating, with drivers from the Netherlands being the worst culprits (61%), 68% of drivers say they drink behind the wheel, two per cent apply makeup, five per cent read and two per cent of Slovakian’s admit to shaving whilst driving.

Talking about the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel, Lesley Slater, LeasePlan UK’s operations and business development director, said, ‘It is encouraging to see that UK drivers appear to have a higher level of awareness around the dangers of mobile phone use when driving, but studies continue to show that driving ability is clearly impaired if motorists do use their phone.

‘The number of incidents now related to mobile technology and other distractions at the wheel, along with the number of people who chose to ignore current rules and laws, means that driver attitudes will have to change, particularly amongst younger people.’