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Half of motorists see fellow drivers using mobile phones at the wheel every day

Press release: 24/09/2015

  • Three in 10 motorists send text messages while driving
  • Men are four times more likely to be pulled over for using mobile phones while driving than women
  • Motorists say use of mobile phones while driving is as dangerous as speeding
  • Drivers admit ordering takeaways, online dating and online shopping on their phones while driving

Half of motorists see their fellow drivers using mobile phones at the wheel every day new research from LV= car insurance has revealed.

The research shows half (48%) of all UK motorists see another driver operating a mobile phone at least once a day - with one in four (24%) saying they see other drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel twice a day or more. Worryingly, three in 10 motorists (29%) admit to sending texts while driving while half (50%) of all motorists admit to reading a text when on the road.

That is despite motorists naming the use of mobile phones while driving alongside speeding as the third most dangerous driving practice, behind only drink-driving (59%) and driving under the influence of drugs (19%). [see Table 1]

Table 1. Five most dangerous driving practices, according to motorists


Drink-driving (59%)


Driving under the influence of drugs (19%)


Using a mobile phone while driving (7%)


Speeding / Driving too fast (7%)


Doing make-up while driving (5%)

The most common reasons for drivers to use their mobile phone while driving are reading a text message (50%), answering a phone call (not hands-free) (48%) and checking a map or satnav phone app (32%), separate research by LV= car insurance also found. [see Table 2]

Table 2. Top five uses of mobile phones while driving admitted by motorists


Checking a text message (50%)


Answering a phone call (not hands-free) (48%)


Check a map or satnav app (32%)


Send a text message (29%)


Make a phone call (27%)

However, some drivers take their phone out for more obscure reasons, including ordering a takeaway (3%), looking at an online dating site or app (3%), or shopping online (3%).

According to official Police data, obtained through Freedom of Information requests from LV= car insurance, over the past five years male motorists have been four times more likely to be pulled over for using their mobile phones while driving than their female counterparts - and this has consistently been the case since 2010. [see Table 3]

Table 3. Percentage of male and female motorists stopped for using a mobile phone while driving over the past five years, according to data obtained through FOI requests to Police


























This 80:20 male-to-female ratio of cases registered by Police over the past five years is far different to the actual gender ratio of drivers on British roads, which was 54:46 male-to-female as of 2010, nearly half and half. [1]

The data comes from 28 responses by Police constabularies and forces across the UK following 45 Freedom of Information requests by LV= car insurance. These forces recorded nearly 13,000 instances of motorists using their phones while driving, 10,098 men and 2,661 women. No data was provided by 17 forces.

Currently, if you are caught using your phone while driving you can get an automatic fixed penalty notice, receiving three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100 [2] - but just a quarter (26%) of motorists surveyed by LV= believe this penalty is sufficient.

Over four in 10 motorists think the fine should be higher for the offence (43%) and a similar number feel more penalty points should be issued (40%) to those caught, while 6% think it warrants a mandatory prison sentence [3].

LV= is calling for British drivers to avoid using their mobile phones while at the wheel, potentially reducing the number of accidents and fatalities on British roads.

Although it can be tempting to quickly check your mobile, it is essential that drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times. There can be enough surprises without the additional distraction of a mobile phone, and drivers need to be ready to react, to help improve safety for themselves and other drivers.

John O'Roarke, Managing Director of LV= car insurance

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For further information please contact:

Nicola Hussey,, 020 8253 5238 / 07468 761 128


ICM Unlimited conducted omnibus research on behalf of LV= car insurance among a representative sample of 2097 Britons, 1,718 of whom more drive regularly. This research was conducted in August 2015.

In addition, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request was issued on behalf of LV= car insurance to 45 Police constabularies and forces across the UK asking for statistics on motorists stopped for using their mobile phones while driving over the past five years, with statistics based on 28 responses received.


LV= employs 6,000 people and serves over 5.5 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.


  1. In 2010, 80% of qualifying males and 66% of qualifying females had a license, according to the Department for Transport. Measured against census data, this equals 19 million men and 16.3 million women, a ratio of 54:46.
  3. Source: ICM Unlimited. Asked about the level of penalty for mobile phone use while driving, 26% of motorists said that ‘the current penalty of a fine and three penalty points is sufficient’, 43% called for a higher fines than is currently issued, 40% called for higher penalty points, 28% called for obligatory motoring safety education courses, 26% called for driving bans and 6% called for mandatory prison sentences.

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