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...

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I drive 30000 miles a year and have done for over 20 years. I didn't need a survey to tell me this. A significant number of van drivers consistently undertake on motorways changing lanes without using indicators and drive erratically. There are car drivers doing this too, but the proportion of van drivers is considerably higher.

Fines....they don't work. Better to enforce the driver to use the money to install a handfree kit and pay for a driving awareness course that includes graphic details of accidents that that type of offence caused

I have been amazed by the attitude to motoring offences for some time. It's almost acceptable that if people break the law on the road it dosen't really matter. The law is almost as much to blame as society; meaningless fines and penalties are no deterrent. Even if you kill someone through your driving; at the law's harshest, it's only Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and carries a much lower penalty than Manslaughter although the definition of the two is almost identical, the weapon used is the only significant difference.
There are no excuses, breaking the law is unacceptable; a friend of mine was killed be a person 'just answering his phone'. The driver reached into the back seat to pick up his ringing phone, crossed on to the other side of the road and hit my friends car which was stationary while waiting to turn right, oh yes and he was doing 50 in a 30 limit:
My friend lost his life, what did the driver get; 6 points, banned for 1 year (reduced to 1 month on appeal - because he would lose his job), and £750 fine.
I what world does that fit the act.
The principle is the same whatever you do; the punnishment has to fit the crime.
Companies who drive their drivers to do more and more in a day and not give them time for proper rest breaks, (as HGV drivers have to take) and permit the use of mobiles while driving should be prosecuted too.