171,000 Britons caught using phones while driving

December 30th, 2011 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 30 (IANS) Over 171,000 Britons were caught this year using mobile phones while driving, according to official figures.

Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request said the number of such drivers has soared since 2008, when 115,900 were caught using phones behind the wheel.

More than 1.5 million younger people accessed social networking websites while driving, the Daily Mail said.

The figures were revealed by motoring insurer Swiftcover.com which got these from 41 police departments in England and Wales.

The research revealed around seven million motorists spoke on their mobiles while driving in the past year, which means less than three percent were caught.

Nearly 350 accidents — including 26 involving fatalities — were caused by drivers while they were using a mobile phone.

A report by the Transport Research Laboratory found women aged 17 to 29 were most likely to use a mobile phone while driving. For men, it was the 30 to 59 age group.

“To make sure drivers take this seriously we are increasing the fine for the offence from 60 pounds to between 80 and 100 pounds next year,” said Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.

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