‘The most expensive call you’ll make’

Drivers in Scotland have the highest proportion of offences for using a mobile phone behind the wheel than anywhere else in the UK.

Tougher penalties came into force yesterday, with fixed penalties of six points and a £200 fine, while new drivers could lose their licences completely if caught using their phones behind the wheel.

Data released today from Gocompare.com Car Insurance has revealed that Scottish drivers have the highest rate of CU80 convictions, with a fifth of all drivers in Scotland having been caught. The study found that Scottish drivers are almost four times more likely to have a conviction for using a mobile phone at the wheel than the national average (5.4%).

At the top of the list for Scottish drivers were those in Motherwell, Glasgow and Kilmarnock. Creating a north-south divide are Kirkwall and Aberdeen with the lowest percentage of convictions respectively.

The percentage of drivers with CU80 conviction per region are: Scotland 19.5%; London 12.4%; north west 6%; east of England 5.9%; south east 5%; south west 3.3%; Yorkshire 3.1%; west Midlands 2.6%; Wales 2.5%; north east 2.3%; east Midlands 1.4%; Northern Ireland 0.9%.

Matt Oliver from Gocompare.com Car Insurance said, ‘In addition to the obvious road safety issues and the new tougher penalties, using your phone behind the wheel can have serious insurance implications.

‘Having a CU80 conviction can seriously impact premium prices and even your ability to get insurance. Drivers with a conviction for using a mobile phone at the wheel could see their premiums increase by over £100 and that’s on top of the potential fine and points on their licence.’

‘Whether the new penalties will indeed reduce the number people using their handsets behind the wheel remains to be seen. However, what is clear is that for drivers caught on their phone, it will likely be the most expensive phone call they’ll ever make.’