Title: Seat belt and mobile phone use surveys: England and Scotland, 2014

Organisation: DfT, TRL & Transport Scotland
Date uploaded: 10th March 2015
Date published/launched: February 2015

Overall results
This survey was carried out at 40 sites across England and 20 sites in Scotland, by TRL on behalf of the DfT.

While the number of drivers using a hand held mobile phone has increased slightly in the past six years, the majority of those doing so are now texting or using social media rather than making a call.

With regard to seat belts, the DfT says that (while the results of this survey are not directly comparable to the results from the previous surveys) since 1999 the wearing rate for car drivers and front seat passengers has risen slowly from a relatively high rate.

However, while the wearing rate for child car rear seat passengers increased slowly between 1999 and 2009, the rate recorded in England in 2014 was five percentage points lower than in 2009 down to 91% from 96%.

Since 1999, the proportion of adult car rear seat passengers wearing a seat belt has increased steadily from 54% in 1999 to 81% in 2014.

Results for Scotland only
The figures show that overall mobile phone use by car drivers in Scotland is low, with 1.3% of drivers observed using a hand-held phone in free-flowing traffic and 1.6% while stopped at traffic lights.

The mobile phone usage rate amongst drivers stopped at traffic lights in Scotland is substantially lower than the 2.7% of car drivers observed using a hand-held mobile phone in such conditions in England.

The figures also show that drivers aged 17-29yrs were more likely to be observed using a phone than older drivers.

The survey also collected data on the use of seatbelts by drivers and passengers in Scotland. Compared to when the last survey was carried out in 2009, seatbelt use by car drivers has increased by almost 3% with 97.8% observed wearing a seatbelt in 2014, while use amongst front seat passengers in cars has increased by 1% to 98%. There has also been an 11% increase in seatbelt use among rear seat car passengers with 99% observed wearing a seatbelt in 2014. This is substantially higher than the rates seen in England in where 87.7% of passengers in the rear seats of cars were observed using a seatbelt in 2014.

In Scotland, drivers of other vehicles, such as vans and lorries, were more likely to be found making use of a phone in free-flowing traffic than those in cars, with 2.9% observed doing so. Lower levels of seatbelt use were also found amongst occupants of such vehicles, with 88.5% of drivers and 87.3% of front seat passengers observed wearing a seatbelt.

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