Mobile Phone Law

Fifth anniversary on Monday - but drivers still not hanging up

28 November 2008

Monday (1st December) sees the fifth anniversary of it becoming illegal to drive while using a hand-held mobile phone and, although the message must have been heard by drivers, many can still be seen on the phone, says the AA.

Before the law was introduced, back in 2003, 1.5 per cent of car drivers and 2.3 per cent of van, lorry and other drivers used hand-held phones.

By summer 2007 these had fallen to 1.0 per cent for car drivers, and had actually risen to 2.4 per cent for the other drivers.

These changes in behaviour happened while related laws were made more severe - the use of a hand-held phone while driving became an endorseable offence while dangerous driving and "causing death" laws now almost inevitably result in a prison sentence for drivers who were on the phone when involved in a fatal accident.

Additionally, new corporate manslaughter laws pressure employers to dissuade their employees from using a phone. On top of that, some 170,000 drivers were caught breaking the law in 2006.

AA comment

"This is a law that nearly everyone supports, yet despite the risk of severe punishment many drivers break. It is a law that many people think is unenforced, yet thousands have been penalised for breaking," says AA President Edmund King.

"But ultimately what it shows is that the public have few qualms about breaking a law that they think is unenforced, and that to make our roads safer and better places we need more traffic police concentrating on wilful bad driving".

Join the discussion in the AA zone


28 November 2008