Photos, gaming, meetings – more people use phones while driving


Some 75% of motorists use their phones while driving, taking photos and videos, attending virtual meetings and reading messages, according to research by road safety institute SWOV.

That is an increase from the 66% who did so in 2017, when the two-yearly survey was first carried out, SWOV said.

That year, just 3.3% of motorists said they played games online while driving,  but the total had risen to 11.4% in 2023.

Cyclists are also using their phones more. Some 28.5% took photos and videos while cycling in 2017, but that rose to 38.5% last year. The number of cyclists who play games while in traffic also shot up from 4.3% to 13%.

Most people in the survey said they did not consider using their phones while in traffic to be a problem, or said that they very rarely did so. There was also no increase in the number of people using their phones while making a call without hands-free equipment.

Very few also admitted they had caused an accident while using their phones.

Cyclists have been banned from holding their phones since July 2019 and face a €160 fine if caught doing so. Motorists can be fined €420 if caught with a phone in their hand. Last year, almost 200,000 motorists and cyclists were fined using their phones in traffic.

The research was carried out by the SWOV on behalf of insurance company Interpolis.

Interpolis traffic psychologist Adriaan Heino told the AD that people too often think they can safely participate in traffic while using their phones.”We also see that those who are very confident in their own skills are more likely to use their phones while driving,” he said.

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