Northern Ireland news

Half of Northern Ireland drivers have used phone while driving, survey suggests

More than half of drivers surveyed admitted they had used their phone in some capacity while driving. Picture by Jonathan Brady/PA
Brendan Hughes

MORE than half of motorists in Northern Ireland have used their phone while driving, a new survey suggests.

Around one in eight admitted texting from behind the wheel, while almost one in 12 admitted to making a hand-held phone call.

More than half of drivers surveyed (52 per cent) said they had used their mobile phone in some capacity.

Drivers believed the three main risks of using a phone while driving were being more likely to cause a crash (92 per cent), being more likely to be involved in a crash (84 per cent) and being less likely to notice a danger ahead (82 per cent).

Less than half (46 per cent) believed that motorists were likely to be stopped by police for using their phone while driving.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) correctly identified that the police penalty for being caught was a fine and penalty points, but 55 per cent believed this penalty should be increased.

The figures come from the 2018/19 Continuous Household Survey (CHS) and have been presented in a report on road safety issues compiled by Stormont's Department for Infrastructure.

The CHS was based on a random sample of 9,000 domestic addresses, with a final dataset containing responses from 2,932 adults.

Most people surveyed (53 per cent) thought that a 20mph speed limit should be more widely used.

More than four in five (82 per cent) believed a 20mph limit should be applied outside schools, while 76 per cent thought it should apply in areas where children play.

Half of all drivers said they never normally exceed the speed limit.

However, 42 per cent said they exceed the limit on motorways, 23 per cent on dual carriageways, eight per cent on rural roads and four per cent in 'built-up' urban areas.

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