Most people would tell drivers to put their phones down

Generic image of a driver on a phone.
Generic image of a driver on a phone.

Just under than three in five (59%) people would ask a driver to stop using a hand-held mobile phone if they were a passenger in the car, according to a new study.

Some 12% of those surveyed said they would take the phone away and 8% would refuse to get in a vehicle again with that person behind the wheel.

The poll of 23,141 motorists was commissioned by the AA Charitable Trust.

It marks the launch of a campaign by the group aimed at changing attitudes towards driver distraction.

The number of fatal accidents on built-up roads in Britain increased by 35% to 200 between April and June compared with the same period last year, Department for Transport figures show.

AA Charitable Trust director Edmund King said: “The hike in fatalities on built-up roads by more than a third is staggering and may be due to driver inattention from excessive use of mobile phones at the wheel.”

The charity’s 12-month campaign begins with the launch of a short film called Cadence, and Mr King said: “Our campaign aims to change attitudes, but it must be supported by tougher penalties and more cops in cars.”

Some 16,900 drivers were handed fixed penalty notices in relation to using phones on the road in England and Wales last year, compared with 123,100 in 2011, Home Office data shows.

Motoring groups believe the decline is due to 27% fewer full-time dedicated roads policing officers (excluding London) between 2010 and 2015.