Van drivers 'twice as likely to break road rules'

26 Sep, 2012 5:12pm Jon Morgan

Statistics from the AA compares convictions for van and car drivers

Van drivers collect twice as many convictions for motoring offences than car drivers, and are six times more likely to be caught using their phone at the wheel, according to figures from AA Insurance.

The AA analysed data provided by its customers and found that 15.5 per cent of van drivers have had their licence endorsed within the last five years, compared to just 7.4 per cent of car drivers.

While 2.4 per cent of van drivers had picked up a CU80 offence for using a mobile phone at the wheel compared to 0.4 per cent of car drivers.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance says: “The significantly higher number of van drivers’ offences is astonishing but is perhaps down to the pressure to get between jobs and keep customers informed. But they’re clearly getting stung for it – not just fines and the risk of losing their license, but increased insurance premiums too.”

The figures for the number of people caught using a phone at the wheel is surprisingly low given that 42 per cent of respondents to a recent AA survey confessed to committing the offence.

Douglas said: “Unlike speeding, which can be recorded by roadside cameras, a mobile phone conviction usually relies on the offence being witnessed by a police officer which is probably why Londoners are more likely to be caught.”

In fact, 3.2 per cent of London van drivers were caught using a mobile. Only Scotland had a higher conviction rate, with 3.4 per cent of van drivers picking up a conviction.

Van drivers in the South East were most likely to have picked up a motoring conviction, with 17.4 per cent having done so in the last five years.

Douglas said insurers take a mobile phone offence much more seriously than speeding, even though the penalty is identical for both.

“Our own research shows that on average, offenders can expect their insurance premium to increase by 9.3% for a single speeding offence and 18.5% if they have been convicted of using a hand-held phone,” he said.

“Insurance premiums reflect motoring offences for at least three years and, for repeat offenders, up to five years, costing up to four times more than the original £60 fine.”

However, motoring safety groups are calling for tougher fines for offences. What do you think? Should penalties be increased to try and discourage offenders? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below...