DRIVERS who use mobile phones are still a major problem, one year after the introduction of tough laws against it, according to Huddersfield-based road safety charity Brake.
Despite stiffer sanctions of a £60 fine and three penalty points, a survey today shows that over two- thirds of motorists have sent texts or listened to voicemail messages while driving.
And over a million have caused an accident because of this.
Government figures do show that the numbers of drivers observed using mobile phones in the 12 months up to August 2007 has dropped, to 1% of car drivers from 1.7%. Other motorists are more serious offenders, but their figure still fell from 2.9% to 2.4%.
Brake spokesperson Lorna Jackson said: “It is welcome that the Government has observed a drop in numbers using phones.
“But it is still incredibly worrying that so many admit to using their mobiles when they drive. It is a huge distraction, and the number of accidents caused by this show just how dangerous it is.
“The Government must do more to educate and raise awareness or people will die.”
Almost six million drivers are now using hands-free mobile kits, but Ms Jackson argued these were not the answer.
She said: “They are not a good alternative. It is the act of having a conversation which significantly impacts on reaction times.
“People should switch off their mobiles before getting in the car. We would like to see hands-free kits outlawed as well.
“The Government seem to realise how dangerous they are but don’t see any way of enforcing a ban.”