VIDEO: Government backs AA to make driving while using mobile as unacceptable as drink-driving

An officer on patrol yesterday near Brighton. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

An officer on patrol yesterday near Brighton. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

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The Department for Transport has backed the AA to make driving while using a mobile as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

The life-saving campaign, by the AA, is to help reduce fatalities, caused by motorists taking risks.

Drivers now caught using their mobile phones will be slapped with six points and a £200 fine.

The law change came into force yesterday (March 1), doubling the previous punishment of three points and a £100 fine.

It has been illegal to use a mobile while driving or while stopped with the engine on since December 2013 but the AA says that using mobile phones while driving is ‘still socially more acceptable than drink driving’.

In a bid to better understand consumer attitudes, the AA carried out a research study with Populus to highlight the difference in our perceived risks associated with drink-driving and driving while using a mobile phone.

Out of a poll of over 17,000 people, nearly 71 per cent said that texting while driving is ‘more likely to cause a crash than drink-driving’.

In comparison, only 29 per cent said that drink-driving is likely to be catastrophic on the roads.

Yet, 51 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds confessed that they can’t bring themselves to turn off their mobile phones before driving.

Amongst the over 65s, digital divorce was found less challenging with only 12 per cent saying they find it difficult to shut down their mobile phones.

The older age groups seemed to hold the opinion that using mobile phones while driving possess more risks than drink-driving with 74 per cent of over 55s saying the risk of experiencing a crash is higher when texting while driving, a spokesman from the AA said.

In comparison to 47 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds who believe driving after drinking is more likely to cause an accident.

According to the AA, drivers are twice as likely to crash text driving than they are drink-driving but despite the awareness, there is still a prevalence of high profile court cases of drivers causing death and serious injuries due to texting, calling or searching for music on their mobile phones while driving.

The AA, with the support of the Department for Transport, has produced the film, Designated Driver, which will appear across cinemas from tomorrow (March 3).

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