A survey has revealed drivers are risking higher car insurance premiums by more often using hand-held mobile phones than before the introduction of stricter penalties two years ago.
Around 2.8% of drivers used hand-held phones this year, a rise from the 2.6% recorded in 2006 before the £60 fines and licence penalty points came into force, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) said.
Nearly 12,000 cars and taxis and 2,500 vans were monitored in London this year, with researchers suggesting the results are likely to be applicable across the country.
Penalties rose from a £30 fine to £60 from February 2007, with drivers having to pay the new fixed fine as well as having three points added to their licence.
TRL said mobile phone usage had nearly halved to 1.4% the year after the new penalties were introduced, but rose to 2.8% this year.
Motorists most likely to use hand-held phones were women aged 17-29 and men aged 30-59.
TRL's Dr Nick Reed warned that drivers using a mobile phone have much higher chances of crashing.
© Press Association 2009