Primary Navigation Mobile

The price of distraction: using your phone at the wheel could cost you more than £500

  • New study explores the price of texting and driving
  • Costs include fines and increased insurance premiums
  • 27% of motorists admit to using their phone at the wheel

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 24 May 2024 Updated: 24 May 2024

New research has found that drivers who are caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel will pay, on average, £569 for the privilege. That figure is split between the £200 fine and the indirect cost of their inflated insurance premiums.

The study was conducted by the car insurance comparison site Go.Compare. It found the average price of an insurance policy for a driver with no motoring offences was £625 in 2023. However, that figure jumps to £994 for a driver that’s been caught using their phone at the wheel (as the offence can load your licence up with six penalty points).

Go.Compare also conducted an anonymous survey of 1,700 motorists with the aim of learning how common scrolling and driving is in the UK. 27% of respondents admitted to using their phones at the wheel – and, if you apply that figure to the total number of motorists in Britain, that equates to around 11.4 million drivers.

The finer details in the report make for interesting reading. The study found that those who spend more time on the road are more likely to check their phone while driving. 45% the respondents who drive daily confessed to using their mobile at the wheel, compared to just 28% of those who only drive once or twice a week.

The study even managed to challenge a few age stereotypes. Just 14% of respondents under the age of 25 said their used their phone at the wheel, which is surprising given their reputation as irresponsible drivers. By contrast, drivers aged between 25 and 39 are the most common culprits with 39% confessing to breaking the law.

Ruth Purdie OBE, chief executive of the Road Safety Trust, said: ‘Evidence shows that mobile phone use – both handheld and handsfree – is extremely dangerous for drivers. It is distracting and impairs their ability to drive safely.

‘Our advice to drivers is simple: switch off all mobile phones while driving. Put your phone in the glove box and remove any risk of distraction. No text or phone call is so important it is worth risking your life for.’

Luke Wilkinson is Deputy Editor of Parkers. He has worked as a car journalist for five years, and spends his time writing news, reviews, features and advice pieces for both Parkers and its sister site CAR magazine.