Do you drive to work? Show you care on the roads and put your phone away as law changes come into force from today (Wednesday 1 March).

The change to the law will see the number of penalty points and fines given to drivers caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel double from 3 penalty points and a £100 fine to 6 points and a £200 fine.

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Be aware and don’t be part of the two fifths (39%) of drivers who aren’t aware of the law change. This figure has been revealed in new research by our PR team in Insurance.

Over a quarter of drivers questioned this week (30%) still admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel. The main use is to make or receive calls (73%) and to use their device as a sat nav to search for a destination when they are lost.

James Hillon, Head of Products at Co-op Insurance, said:

“Whilst is can be tempting to take that call or check that text, using a mobile phone whilst driving is dangerous and can seriously impact a motorist’s ability to drive safely, which is why it is illegal.

“Despite this, a third of drivers have admitted that they use their phones behind the wheel for a range of reasons from not having enough time in the day, to not wanting to be bored in a traffic jam.”

The research has revealed some positives too as 24% of those surveyed believe that their driving habits will change for the better as a result of the law change, with it deterring them from using their phones.

James added:

“At the Co-op we aim to help build safer communities. We welcome the penalty change and believe that anything that may lead to safer roads and communities in the UK can only be a good thing. However only time will tell what the impact of this penalty increase will be.”

It’s clear that we’re taking safety seriously and there’s plenty of information available for colleagues on the intranet, including our Driving Policy for anyone using a car for Co-op business.

So next time you’re behind the wheel, think twice before searching, selfie-ing or social networking.