Seat belt and mobile phone use surveys 2017 GB

Industry news | February 2019

The percentage of people using a handheld mobile while driving – and not wearing a seatbelt – has fallen slightly in recent years. 

In a roadside observational survey, commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport Scotland, 1.1% of drivers were seen using a handheld device in 2017, compared to 1.6% in 2014. 

Drivers of taxi and private hire vehicles were found to be the worst offenders for using a mobile behind the wheel at 3.3%. They were closely followed by van drivers at 2.1%, private car drivers and bus drivers at 1% each, while goods vehicles and lorries were the least likely, at 0.6 per cent.  

Looking at road-types, a higher proportion of drivers were observed using a mobile phone on urban roads (1.4%) compared to rural roads (1%), with van drivers being the worst culprits, at 2.4% and 1.9% respectively. 

The survey also shows that more males (1.2%) were observed using a handheld phone whilst driving than females (1.1%). This changed slightly when looking at car drivers, with a higher proportion of females (1.1%) using a phone whilst driving than males (0.9%). This is, however, driven by a lower rate for male drivers in Scotland. 

In terms of age, a higher proportion of drivers aged 17 to 29 (4%) used a mobile at stationary sites, such as traffic light junctions, compared to drivers aged 30 to 59 (2.2%) and those aged 60 and over (0.6%). When passengers were present in the vehicle fewer drivers used a mobile, the survey found.

The statistical results, published on February 7, found a similar positive trend in seatbelt use among drivers and passengers. 

In 2017, 96.5% of all drivers were observed using a seatbelt in Britain compared to 95.3% in 2014 for England and Scotland combined. This rate was lower in England and Wales (96.0%) than Scotland (97.3%) in 2017. 

The latest survey also shows that 93.1% of front seat passengers and 90.7% of rear seat passengers were observed wearing a seatbelt, with more people in Scotland using the safety device than those in England and Wales. 

Looking at vehicle type, 98.6% of car drivers were observed using a seatbelt, compared to 70.8% of taxi drivers, 89.6% of private hire vehicle drivers and 90.1% of drivers in other vehicles. 

The survey also shows that a slightly higher proportion of drivers were observed using seatbelts on rural roads than urban roads, and seatbelt use was higher on weekends compared to weekdays. 

In terms of gender, males (95.4%) had a lower rate of seatbelt use compared to females (98.5%). And in terms of age, the rate of seatbelt use is similar for those aged 30 to 59 (96.1%) and 17 to 29 (96.2%) but is higher amongst those aged 60 and over (98.6%).

View full report: DfT 2017 seat belt and mobile phone use surveys


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