Press

Mobile Phone Use Still Drivers' Biggest Annoyance Despite Offences Appearing To Decrease

Kwik Fit | Thursday 7th November 2019 4:00pm

  • Drivers using phones are more annoying than tailgating, failing to indicate or dangerous overtaking
  • Convictions for mobile use down across the country, except in three regions: Yorkshire, North East and East Midlands
  • Using a mobile phone while driving can land you with an immediate fine and 6 points on your licence.

Research released today reveals that British drivers find other motorists’ use of mobile phones the most annoying habit on the road. The study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, found that other motorists using a mobile phone handset to talk, text or use social media is in the top five most annoying habits for 56% of drivers. This is more than tailgating (50%), failing to indicate (49%) and dangerous overtaking (38%)1.

This data is revealed as the government begins a review into the existing law on mobile phone use when driving, in order to close loopholes which some motorists have used to escape prosecution2. The fact that people view other drivers’ use of mobiles as their biggest motoring annoyance clearly indicates the widespread nature of the problem. However, there has been a national decrease in the number of motorists receiving penalty points for using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

New figures obtained by Kwik Fit through a Freedom of Information request show that the number of drivers committing a CU80 offence, defined as a ‘breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone’, fell by 19% nationally between 2017 and 2018.

However, Kwik Fit’s analysis of the DVLA data reveals some stark differences in the trends across the regions. The biggest percentage drop was in London, where the number of drivers convicted fell by 32.3%, followed by the South East and the North West, which saw decreases of 22.5% and 18.9% respectively.

In contrast to the national trend, in Yorkshire the number of drivers receiving penalty points for committing a CU80 offence jumped by 22.6% between 2017 and 2018, with rises of 8.0% in the North East and 5.7% in the East Midlands over the same period. Over 1,900 Yorkshire drivers received penalty points for a CU80 offence last year, with big increases in the neighbouring areas of Leeds (60% rise), Bradford (52%), Wakefield (77%) and Kirklees - the borough around Huddersfield (82%).

This area is covered by West Yorkshire Police, which has used techniques such as spotting drivers from the top deck of double decker buses or using an unmarked HGV to give a vantage point to look down into vehicles3.

Table 1: The most annoying habits made by other drivers

Habit in other motoristsProportion of drivers selecting it in their top five annoying habits
Using a mobile phone handset to talk/text or use social media56%
Tailgating50%
Failing to indicate49%
Dangerous overtaking38%
Changing lane without indicating33%
Last minute braking24%
Middle lane cruising/hogging24%
Speeding23%
Hesitant drivers18%
Jumping lights18%

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The research clearly shows that actions of other drivers which annoy us the most are those which put people’s safety at risk on the road. There is no excuse for using a handheld mobile phone when driving, whether it’s for a call, texting or checking social media. The fact that the number of drivers receiving penalty points for using a mobile when driving has fallen should not make us complacent, and if the government does change the law to close loopholes we are likely to see those figures rocket back up again, especially if police forces continue to use innovative techniques to catch drivers breaking the law.

“It’s vital for road safety that we make using the phone when driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. Until we have fully autonomous vehicles, anything which diverts a driver’s attention from the road is a risk to their safety and those of the road users around them.”

Table 2: Number of drivers issued with penalty points for CU80 offence

RegionNumber of drivers (2017)Number of drivers (2018) YOY change
East Midlands196520775.7%
East of England58905172 -12.2%
London9021 6109 -32.3%
North East696 752 8.0%
North West2711 2198 -18.9%
Scotland2920 2435 -16.6%
South East5730 4438 -22.5%
South West2265 2116 -6.6%
Wales1560 1414 -9.4%
West Midlands3320 2921 -12.0%
Yorkshire & The Humber1560 1912 22.6%
Region Unknown949 900 -5.2%
GB Total38587 32444 -15.9%

Source: Freedom of Information request to DVLA, 2019

Notes to editors 

About Kwik Fit

Established in 1971, the Kwik Fit Group is one of the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialists in the world. Kwik Fit has over 600 service centres across the UK and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MOT specialist.  Details of its range of products and services can be found at kwik-fit.com

Notes to editors 

Research carried out by Opinium amongst 2,003 UK adults between 19th and 22nd July 2019

About Kwik Fit

Established in 1971, the Kwik Fit Group is one of the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialists in the world. Kwik Fit has over 600 service centres across the UK and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MOT specialist.  Details of its range of products and services can be found at kwik-fit.com

For further information please contact: 

Samantha Stewart/Camilla Wyatt/Alannah Sims

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Tel: 020 7025 6497

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