Everything a girl needs to know about cars
MotorSport Vision’s YoungDrive! is underage driving made legal – a first lesson on a real race track for 11 to 17-year-olds.
Cars4Girls.com Offers News
Gemma Masini
December 19, 2017
photo courtesy of Gary Hawkins

YoungDrive! is the perfect Christmas gift for aspiring young drivers who can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Experienced instructors put them through their paces in a stunning Mini ONE, teaching the basics of clutch control and gear changing while reaching speeds of up to 40mph in a safe, controlled environment.

A YoungDrive! lesson lasts around two-and-a-half hours and includes:
– Introduction and classroom briefing
– In-car briefing on controls
– Moving off and stopping
– Steering through cone configurations
– Clutch Control and its purpose
– Changing gears
– Building up speed and steady driving (up to 40mph) on closed-off sections of the circuit
– Students rotate driving and watching from the rear seat
– Debrief and certificate presentation
– Photo opportunity
– Q and A for parents and students

I went along with my son for his 11th birthday present and found the entire experience extremely well put together. As an F1 fan my son was very excited to be driving on a part of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and although nervous at the start he quickly relaxed and found his confidence with his instructor calmly taking him through each step. I was amazed at how quickly he mastered the slalom course and how smoothly he was able to pull away and stop. The experience certainly left him beaming from ear to ear and that is why I think this is the ultimate Christmas gift for kids!

YoungDrive! is available at Brands Hatch in Kent, Snetterton in Norfolk, Oulton Park in Cheshire and Bedford Autodrome on selected dates throughout the year. Full details are available at www.msvdrivinggifts.com/youngdrive

YoungDrive! gift vouchers are £85 and are valid for 12 months. Bookings made before the end of the year will also receive a FREE ticket to the British Superbike or British Touring Car Championship worth up to £34!

YoungDrive! Plus is also available for £109 at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton, offering an advanced option for those who have already completed YoungDrive! with additional manoeuvres and faster speeds.

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Women less likely to pass their driving test than men, new data shows
Gemma Masini
December 6, 2017

Women in cities fare particularly badly, with fewer than 30% passing in parts of London, Manchester and Birmingham
Young men claim 14% more on insurance than young women – and their claims are 46% more expensive

Although they’re statistically less likely to be in a serious accident, women are still faring worse than men when it comes to passing their driving test, according to analysis by learner driver insurance provider Veygo by Admiral.

A combination of DVLA learner driver data and Admiral’s own accident figures were used to compile the most comprehensive picture to date of learning to drive in the UK. It forms part of the learner driver insurance specialist’s campaign to give young drivers the best information possible to help them pass their tests.

The statistics show that 51% of men passed their test in 2016-17, compared to 44% of women. This is despite figures showing young men (aged 17-21) claim 14% more frequently than young women on their car insurance, and their claims are 46% more expensive than similarly-aged women.*

Last year, there were 1,730,921 driving tests taken in the UK. 815,168 tests were passed in total – 51.3% by men and 48.7% by women.

Overall, women fare much better in Scotland and Wales – pass rates in England are 4% and 6% lower than in those countries respectively. England has the lowest overall pass rate for women – at 43%.

In some parts of the UK, particularly in busy urban areas, fewer than one in three women are passing their driving test.

10 Test Centres Where Women Perform the Worst

1 Belvedere (London) 24.9%
2 Cheetham Hill (Manchester) 27.7%
3 South Yardley (Birmingham) 28.0%
4 Salford (Manchester) 29.0%
=5 Erith (London) 29.2%
=5 Wanstead (London) 29.2%
7 Garston (Liverpool) 29.3%
8 Wednesbury (Staffordshire) 29.4%
9 Barking (London) 29.8%
10 Barnet (London) 30.1%

Veygo’s in-depth research is the basis of an interactive map, allowing drivers to see pass rates of test centres near them so they can make an informed decision about where to take their test. Its cost calculator also helps new road users to estimate how much it will cost them to learn to drive.
Of 349 UK test centres, only 14 recorded better pass rates for women rather than men, while 11 of these were in remote parts of Scotland and Wales. There were only three test centres in England where women outperformed men – Wellingborough, Northamptonshire; Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Camborne, Cornwall.

The UK Test Centres Where Women Outperform Men

1 Kingussie (MPR) 47.9% (FPR)62.5%
2 Grantown-On-Spey (MPR)50.6% (FPR) 61.9%
3 Benbecula Island (MPR)46.7% (FPR)57.5%
4 Stranraer (MPR)60.3% (FPR)67.6%
5 Gairloch (MPR)66.7% (FPR)73.9%
6 Wick (MPR)58.7% (FPR)64.0%
7 Mallaig (MPR)75.0% (FPR)80.0%
8 Stornoway (MPR)63.2% (FPR)67.4%
9 Wellingborough (MPR)58.4% (FPR)62.1%
10 Trowbridge (MPR)47.6% (FPR)49.8%
11 Rothesay (MPR)71.2% (FPR)72.5%
=12 Newtown (MPR)55.7% (FPR)56.8%
=12 Camborne (MPR)50.1% (FPR)51.2%
14 Kyle of Lochalsh (MPR)71.9% (FPR)72.2%

( *MPR = Male Pass Rate *FPR = Female Pass Rate )

While pass rates for both genders have risen since 2007-08, the difference between male and female pass rates have stayed largely the same – the gap was 6% at the end of 2008, compared to 7% in 2016.

And although success rates for both men and women fall after several driving test attempts, the gap between them remained consistent; men are 7 percentage points higher than women when taking their first test, and 6 percentage points higher on their 6th attempt. The data can be found the blog of Veygo Learner Driving Insurance.

Jean-Baptiste Limare, Head of Veygo, said: “Countless statistics have shown that young women are less likely to be involved in crashes than young men, but are consistently passing less than their male counterparts – our Learn to Drive calculator gives the clearest picture of this disparity yet. This has a real impact in terms of time and cost – women are paying more to learn to drive.”

“Our map gives learners the opportunity to research the test centres with the best pass rates. If it is a viable option, they might consider doing their test somewhere with more favourable pass rates. Ultimately, there’s no better preparation than practice and you always find that learners who have plenty of experience in the area around their test centre are less likely to be surprised and more likely to shed their L-plates.

“The best advice is to supplement formal driving lessons with additional practice with friends and family members. This could also save you money as you may need to pay for fewer lessons.”

TV Presenter Jane Farnham, founder here at Cars4Girls.com, said that there isn’t anything inherently sexist or gender biased in the test, but that she was surprised by the difference between the two genders.

“I’m obviously biased, but I do think women are better drivers than men. Girls are generally more risk averse and less prone to red mist in a tricky situation – and this is backed up by industry insurance data and crash statistics which show that the actual risks are shown to be greater with men.

“I do think that there are ‘real life’ factors that are hard to cater for in a test.

“There are also more male examiners than female, so I think that could make some girls slightly less relaxed. I understand how pass rates may be lower in inner-city areas because the traffic can be harrowing enough to contend with, let alone when you’re next to the examiner.

“There’s nothing wrong with failing your test – I passed second time around and they say they are the best drivers!”

Further stats available at https://www.veygo.com/learner-drivers/revealed-uks-toughest-driving-test-centre/

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Annalese Ferrari, stunt driver, rider and model talks Films, footballers and being blown up ....
Gemma Masini
November 27, 2017

Annalese is literally one of the coolest girls on the block, she is driven by horse power, as a professional stunt rider on horse back and driver behind the wheel.  She has appeared in numerous live stunt shows, scared the pants off of the Arsenal football team as she parallel parked them in their own net, and she has appeared in movies including the Fast and the Furious and Edge Of Tomorrow.  There is nothing Annalese cannot do behind the wheel, I have witnessed first-hand as she takes a four wheel car up onto two wheels, perform j-turns, and hit high speeds that most of us could only dream (or  perhaps have nightmares!!) about.
So what better woman to give the rest of us tips on ultimate car handling, but first i wanted to get to know Annalese a little better.
With a name like Ferrari you were destined to be involved in cars in some way or another! When did you first find your passion for cars?

I had always been interested in cars as a child and loved watching Michael Schumacher on the TV! I think I have always had a need for speed and when I was old enough, I asked my mum to take me karting, I absolutely loved it so it all stemmed from there. Once you’ve started in motorsport, you can become addicted very quickly. My name obviously helps a little too…!
And how did that lead you on to stunt driving?

I had started doing live shows from being involved in racing and then by chance, I met a film stunt coordinator who said he needed a female driver for a film. At first I thought he was joking until he called me and asked me to go to Warner Brother Studios for a screen test! So it all came from racing cars, it really gives you a good grounding in car control and car confidence which you definitely need for performing stunts.
How do you go about learning such skills? I mean its not like popping the handbrake in your local Supermarket and arriving in the space!!

I’m pretty much self taught regarding skills, I have had some training along the way which I have been grateful for but some stuff you just have to get on with it! There is rehearsals for live shows and filming so there is some practice but it’s having the mindset to be able to do it that is most important. The first film I worked on I was towing a caravan that was remotely controlled by someone else – I’d never towed anything before and then there I was towing a caravan at 70mph being blown up by aliens! Most of the stunts require a sensible head as you have to be very aware of crew, cast, cameras etc that are generally quite close to you and accuracy is very crucial! There a  number of stunt schools out there where you can have a go at the movie tricks but to do them at a filming level takes years of practice and experience.
How much of a part does fitness play in being a stunt driver?

Fitness is fairly important for both body and mind. Fatigue is a big problem with driving stunts and can affect concentration and attention which is very important either on a set or in a live show to avoid any unplanned incidents! Sometimes the cars can be quite “heavy” to drive so you do need a base line of physical fitness too to manoeuvre them around. Core strength is actually quite important to be able to feel what the car is doing.
You perform some pretty cool stunts, I have been lucky enough to see you in action – what is the ultimate stunt that you loved doing?

I think every job has it’s exciting parts but one that stands out for me was filming on Edge Of Tomorrow, the car I was driving was blown up whilst I was driving it and the caravan on the back was set on fire, looking back in the mirrors as you are towing a massive fireball is pretty exciting! It took lots of filming for that particular scene, the stress levels were pretty high but the end results were spectacular! There are so many fun things I have done, another one was for Ford, racing around the docks in Barcelona at full speed in reverse next to the big drop into the sea got the blood pumping!
What was it like being on the set of such an amazing and cool film Fast and Furious?

Being on the set of any film sounds more exciting than the reality of it but being able to work with top cast and crew is what makes it amazing. It’s quite surreal when you’re working with a mega famous actor and you have to pinch yourself sometimes to say am I really here?! The talent I have been fortunate to work with has been incredible, directors, cameramen, wardrobe, actors etc and it’s nice to get to know some of these people outside of their media personas. The actual reality of being on set though is usually long hours, mostly spent waiting around, in cold, freezing and wet locations!

I`ve seen you in action with the Arsenal football boys, were they shocked when their ‘girlie’ chauffeur turned out to be a bit of a daredevil?

The Arsenal video was definitely the funniest job I have ever done! They had no idea who I was – in fact, they thought I was from the Arsenal Ladies team until I started driving them round a football course at high speed doing driving stunts! I had one take to get everything right otherwise the prank wouldn’t have worked and luckily it all went to plan; although I did have to hold one of them in car at one point! They were properly shocked, maybe a little scared but saw the funny side at the end of it, I’m also relieved it went well as I’m not sure I would have coped with the wrath of the Arsenal fans if I had wiped out 3 of their top players!
Check out Annalese in action and coming soon … her top tips for Winter driving …

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The potential damaging effects of potholes and what should we be doing about them?
Featured News
Gemma Masini
November 22, 2017

How often do you come across pot holes in the road? They are in major roads, minor roads, country lanes and carparks – they are everywhere. Why is this important to us? Well as motorists pot holes can cause you a number of problems for your car and car handling, infact 32% of motorists have reported vehicle damage caused by potholes in the last two years, that is 1 in 3 or motorists.

Potholes can cause damage to the tires, causeng punctures, tears or even a blown tire to occur and of course the damage is worst the higher the speed at which you traveling when you hit one and the depth of the hole itself. Not only that but they can cause the tracking to be thrown off balance which in turn will lead to poor handling.

Potholes are a caused by many factors and are unavoidable, so what should we be doing about these holes? Well, the answer is simple as motorists we have a responsibility to report the potholes to the local council in order for repairs to be made. A recent survey found that a whopping 51% of people surveyed have seen bad potholes locally but not reported them, that is 1 in 5, and 40% reported that would report a pothole if they knew how.

So how do you report these potholes?

Make a specific note of the location of the pothole, a landmark nearby for reference is a great idea along with the road name of course.
Find the contact details for your local council via their website or type the relevant post code into the government’s ‘report a pothole’ page.
Add the details, some councils have an interactive map option in order for you to drop a pin to locate the pothole.

If you do come across a pothole you should not make erratic changes to your driving such as swerving or heavy braking, especially if there are other road users nearby.

If you can avoid it by slowing down and careful steering around it, or passing over slowly then do so but please try to consider your actions and try not to cause a bigger accident by your actions.

Furthermore if you have experienced damage by potholes then contact your local council in order to find out if you are eligible to claim compensation. The claim will be dependent on evidence and the size of the pothole as well as the road that it is on but it is definitely worth checking.

Images and stats courtesy of The AA https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/how-to-report-a-pothole

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Road Trips
Gemma Masini
November 15, 2017

Driving Abroad

Road Trips – Love them or loathe them they are something that in modern day life we are tackling more and more. What qualifies a road trip? A journey for business or pleasure? An adventure perhaps? I consider any journey over and beyond your usual commute to work, school run or shops is a road trip and I personally like to take them on as often as possible in order to discover new places, visit friends and family, for part of a holiday and sometimes … yes … to go to work!

There are many things to factor into a road trip and I don’t just mean how to keep the kids entertained or which route you will take, maintenance checks are crucial and with modern day electronics on our cars how many of us check oil, water and tyre pressures regularly? It has become so easy to rely on a light to flicker on on the dashboard display to warn us of a potential problem, but waiting for that light to shine could well lead you to unwanted problems, costs and delays.

So what should we be checking on our cars prior to long journeys? and what should we carry in our cars in order to be well prepared for any potential break down or problem? Here is my guide to a safe, well planned and prepared road trip.


This is a simple, mess free job that anyone can do. simply open your bonnet and check for the engine Oil logo (you may need to consult with your cars manual for the exact location). Normally anything you may need to touch under the bonnet is colored – for example a yellow cap with a logo and this should make it easy to find. To check the oil you are looking for the ‘dip stick’. Once you have located it, pull it out and wipe it clean with a rag or piece of kitchen towel. Then put the stick back into the pipe and pull it out again, this time you are checking where the oil film stops and that it is within the maximum and minimum markers. If you are satisfied that the film rests within the markers then simply wipe clean again and pop the dip stick back in the pipe and you are finished. If you have too little you will need to top up your engine oil. Check what you need with your cars manual.

As a guide your oil should be changed every 5,000 – 7,500 miles or so in order to ensure you are running clean and uncontaminated oil through your engine.


Again the guide for pressure will vary per car and you should consult your cars manual for your optimum pressure. Tyre pressures relate directly to the efficiency of your car and your fuel efficiency on a road trip is of utmost importance. Pressure also effects the handling of your car, acceleration, breaking and grip in the wet, not to mention cornering efficiency and ensuring even wear for your tires. Remember that your tires are the sole thing that grip your car to the road, check the pressures using a home pressure gauge or at your local petrol station. Pressures should always be checked when the tires are cold ( travelled less than 5 miles ) and check all four and the spare if you have one.

It is a good idea to check the condition of the tires as you are doing this, ensure the tread is at the legal level and that you cannot see any irregular bulges, lumps or cuts.


It is a legal requirement to have windscreen washer fluid and ensure that you choose one that contains an anti-freeze product for the winter months as well as one that will remove grease from your windows. Again this is located under the bonnet and will be clearly marked usually with a symbol that looks like a windscreen. Top this up regularly and especially before your long road trips.


Here, I am referring to the engine coolant, which is essential in order to cool your cars complicated radiator system so that you don’t suffer an over heat. Coolant is directed around the cylinder heads and valves to absorb their heat before returning to the radiator. In order to check the level, ensure that the engine is NOT hot. It is ideally done when the car is just a little warm. First, park your car on a level surface, the open the bonnet, locate the coolant and simply check that the line rests between the maximum and minimum levels.


Just take a couple of minutes to check that all your lights, including fog lights, brakes, indicators and side lights are working. Ask a friend or family member to give you a hand, my kids love doing this job with me!


Not all cars have a spare tyre but if you do, ensure that it is in good condition and that you have the correct locking wheel nut device and jack in order to change a tyre should you need. If you don’t know how to change your tyre please consult our Cars4Girls guide and video tutorial.


It is not a legal requirement in the UK to carry a warning triangle or fluorescent jacket, however if your road trip takes you across the channel to Europe then it is, and for your safety why not carry these anyway in order to add to your safety in case of emergency. I also suggest carrying a small kit of spare bulbs for your car and the tools required to change them should you need to.

Finally give your car a once over body work check, just make sure nothing is loose or out of place and then you are ready to go … Load up a good playlist and enjoy the open road with piece of mind.

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Childproofing your car
Gemma Masini
November 15, 2017

How often do you drive with children in the car? Wether it is your kids, family you are with or your friends kids, when you do it is imperative to think of safety for you, them and other road users.

Just yesterday, I was driving behind a Renault Clio clearly loaded with people and one clearly an infant as I could see the child seat on the rear left handside of the car. I was driving on a busy dual carriage way and due to roadworks we were rolling at around 20mph, when suddenly the left rear door of the Clio infront of me was opened causing the car alongside them to swerve and the Clio to brake suddenly and swerve as the driver turned to face the child. Fortunately there was no incident, but this could have ended so differently.

You simply do not want this situation to arise when traveling with children and modern cars are equipped so as to avoid such issues. Put the child locks on the rear doors and windows too so that YOU are in full control of EVERYTHING.

The child safety door locks are usually located just on the inside of the door. There will be a simple slide switch or you may need to make a small turn using your car key, consult your cars manual if you are unsure and be sure you do lock both rear doors. For the windows, if your vehicle allows you to control the rear windows this can normally be done from inside the vehicle although it will depend on your make and model and again you will need to check the manual.

Do not ignore the fact that it is law in the UK for all children to be correctly restrained when traveling in the front or back of the car with the appropriate car seat and fastenings. Car seats and the correct seatbelt must be used until the age of 12 or 135cm tall. For further information on car seats and booster seats for your little ones please check out our Cars4Girls guide.

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Motor Ombudsman service launched
November 10, 2016

We’re all used to hearing about the Financial Ombudsman, but Auto Express are reporting that a new, free service has now been launched to help consumers resolve disputes between garages and manufacturers – and it’s the first of its kind in the industry.

According to Auto Express, ‘The Motor Ombudsman becomes the official automotive dispute resolution body, protecting car owners and holding to account businesses signed up to its Codes of Practice.

However, in order to use the service, the garage or dealer must be signed up to the Codes of Practice operated by The Motor Ombudsman’.

Auto Express also sets out how the new Motor Ombudsman can help buyers –

It’s all in one

This is the first time there will be a single independent body for motorists to take any grievances to.

It covers the lot

A huge 99 per cent of new cars sold in the UK will be eligible for referral to The Motor Ombudsman.

It’s quick

Simple cases could be resolved in just five days. Even complicated cases will take just a few weeks to sort.

It’s totally free

The service is completely free, potentially saving motorists thousands in legal fees to resolve cases.

It’s binding

If the consumer accepts an Ombudsman decision, the garage is obliged to stand by the ruling.

The full article can be found here –

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Two thirds of drivers still use their phone at the wheel
November 6, 2016

Be honest – how distracted are you when driving? Do you mentally switch off when you drive? Or maybe you’re guilty of using your mobile phone?

I think we’re all guilty of switching off occasionally when driving home (I’m usually thinking about everything I’ve got to do, or things I’ve forgotten to do at work that I must get around to tomorrow). But I’d guess that most people would be pretty worried at the thought of other motorists using their mobile phones at the wheel. Although we do occasionally see people driving while using their phone, I tend to believe that most motorists simply don’t do it anymore. However, according to a new survey, it seems that motorists using mobile phones at the wheel is far more common than we think.

Worrying research has revealed that almost two thirds of drivers still use their mobile phone when driving. The results of this survey were revealed by the Huffington Post. The research was carried out by Voucher Codes Pro.

Of those who said they used their phone, 36% said that they read or send texts and 27% of participants said that they take selfies when driving.

15% of those surveyed said that they use their phone to take photographs when driving.

Despite a lot of motorists still illegally using their phone when driving, 63% of the people who took part in the survey said that they felt uneasy when being driven by somebody who was using their mobile phone.

2296 people were questioned by this survey, and the full article can be found here –


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Only 7% of us have faith in used car dealers?
September 18, 2016

Have you bought a used car recently? If so, what was your experience of the process? It seems that the majority of us are pretty untrusting when it comes to buying a car from a used car dealer.

Thisismoney.co.uk are reporting that just 7% of people have faith in used car dealers. Contrary to that statistic, the research carried out also found that 68% of participants who had bought a car in the last six months did actually trust the salesman.

The research actually comes from Auto Trader, who asked 5000 people their opinions about thirteen industries, including the car industry. Used car dealers were found in the study to be the least trustworthy of all industries, which also included bankers and estate agents.

The full article from Thisismoney.co.uk can be found here –


Are you thinking about buying a used car? Here are our best tips to help you along the way.

-Do your research
Work out how much your insurance, tax and petrol is going to cost if you were to purchase the car.
Read about any potential faults with the car you’re looking to buy (check out reviews on the internet)
Have a look at similar car advertisements, online and in magazines, to check that you’re not being ripped off.
Follow your instinct -if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!

-Have a proper look at the car
Inspect the car in the daylight and when it’s not raining so you can get a good look at what you’re potentially buying.
Take your time when you look at the car. Don’t be bullied into having a quick look. Trust your instincts. If alarm bells are ringing about the seller or the car, it’s time to look elsewhere.

-Take it for a spin
Always take the car for a test drive and, if possible, ensure that you drive on different types of roads. Aim to drive the car for about fifteen minutes but don’t forget to sort out relevant insurance beforehand.
Test out reverse, use the handbrake and if it’s safe to do so, perform an emergency stop.
Have a listen for anything that doesn’t sound right with the engine.
If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who’s a Mechanic, now’s the time to call in a favour. Take them along with you so that they can have a look at the car and also listen out for anything unusual.

-Take a look at the mileage
Does it coincide with the general wear and age of the car?
Look out for unusually low mileage as the odometer may have been tampered with.
Check the paperwork.
Ensure there’s a valid MOT (if the car is over three years old).
Check the tax disc.
Check the Log Book (also known as the V5C).
Make sure that all of the paperwork is genuine and view the originals, not photocopies.

-Talk to the owner and get a full service history of the car. Make sure you get your hands on receipts for any work that has been carried out

-Make sure you’re clear about all agreed terms before you hand over any cash and if you’re unsure of anything, ask. If you get a feeling that something isn’t quite right, then walk away. There are plenty of other used cars out there so it really is worth holding out and finding the perfect car for you.

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Research shows motorists are still illegally using mobile phones when driving
September 16, 2016

The BBC is reporting that the number of motorists illegally using their mobile phones while driving is on the rise.

The BBC article was based on a survey carried out by the RAC.

Apparently, 31% of drivers said that they use a handheld mobile phone at the wheel. in 2014, this figure was much lower, at 8%. And with the rise in popularity of social media comes the rise of people updating their statues when driving. 19% of people surveyed admitted to sending a message, or posting on social media. 14% said they’d taken a photograph or video while at the wheel.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “It is alarming to see that some drivers have clearly relaxed their attitudes to the risks associated with this behaviour but more worrying is the increase in the percentage of motorists who actually admit to using a handheld device when driving.

“The fact that drivers have little or no confidence that they will be caught when breaking these laws is a likely contributor to the problem and it is sadly the case that every day most road users see other drivers brazenly using their handheld phones when in control of a vehicle – a sight which should be a thing of the past.”

1714 motorists were questioned for this research, and the full article can be found here –


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