Research and analysis

Mobile phone use by drivers

This report draws on extensive camera footage taken within vehicles to show the nature and extent of mobile phone use by drivers.


A naturalistic study of mobile phone distraction during driving: an analysis of the UDRIVE project database

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The government’s objective in commissioning this research was to gain insight into why, how, when and in what contexts mobile phones are used while driving.

The study specifically identified and analysed instances of mobile phone use by drivers, which were taken from the wider European UDRIVE naturalistic driving study that took place from 2015 to 2017.

The researchers:

  • took a sample of 51 UK participants
  • analysed 765 trips made by them (approximately 15 trips per driver)
  • broke down mobile phone use into detailed steps, making a distinction between handheld and hands-free use
  • coded each interaction

The behaviours observed and described in the report give a very real flavour of what is happening on the UK’s roads.

Published 17 October 2020